Chris Sale Will Not Be Ready for Opening Day

Rob Bradford
February 27, 2020 - 10:39 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It isn't a surprise, but for those wondering who will start for the Red Sox March 26 in Toronto it is notable.

Red Sox interim manager Ron Roenicke announced Thursday morning at JetBlue Park that Chris Sale would be starting the season on the injured list and not serve as the team's Opening Day starter. Roenicke made it clear that the move isn't due to any physical ailment but strictly because Sale got behind schedule early in camp due to a bout with pneumonia.

"I talked to him again this morning and he was OK with me just telling you guys, he won’t make Opening Day. It was probably a reach anyway," Roenicke said. "We’ll probably start with him on the DL. Because, with the sickness, it cost him two weeks time and that two weeks is that we’d like to give him to make sure he’s right. He’s worked hard on getting his arm right. We didn’t think four starts in Spring Training was fair to him to make him start the season. He’ll open up on the DL. We can backdate it three days. We’ll try to figure out exactly where that puts him, and which start he’ll make. But anyway, that’s where we are with him.

"The good thing with Chris is that he is so competitive and he wants to start the season right off to be out there but he’s realizing, he’s thought about this, he knows we’re looking out after him and what’s best for him, what’s best for the team and this really is the right way to it. I didn’t even think there was a question, to treat him fairly and also to take care of the club and where are with him not just this year, but in the future, this is the best way to do it."

Sale, who will likely stay in Fort Myers when the team heads to play the Blue Jays, is slated to throw his first live batting practice Saturday.

Sale has made five Opening Day starts, including the last two seasons with the Red Sox. Prior to the lefty's emergence with his current team the Sox went three straight years with different Opening Day starters - Clay Buchholz, David Price and Rick Porcello. Before Buchholz's 2015 start Jon Lester had made four straight appearances in the opener.

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