FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale says he expects to be fine to start on opening day after being hit by a line drive in his final spring training tuneup.
Sale was struck on the left hip Saturday by a liner off the bat of Houston’s J.D. Davis in the first inning.
Sale immediately went to the ground, but walked off the field under his own power. The Red Sox called the injury a bruise.
The left-hander later said he was OK and expected to pitch Thursday when the AL East champions open at Tampa Bay. Chris Archer was set to start for the Rays — on Friday, he was hit by a grounder in the forearm of his pitching arm and had to leave a minor league game.
Sale led the majors with 308 strikeouts last season, going 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA in his first year with Boston.
Sale’s injury came a day after San Francisco ace Madison Bumgarner sustained a broken hand on his pitching hand when he was hit by a line drive. He is expected to miss at least a month.
The Red Sox already were looking at starting out with a depleted rotation. Manager Alex Cora announced hours earlier that pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez will begin the season on the disabled list. Knuckleballer Steven Wright has accepted a 15-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy.