Red Sox LHP Chris Sale’s return pushed back due to personal medical issue

Chris Sale’s return to the Red Sox has been pushed back.

The Red Sox lefty has experienced a non-baseball medical issue that forced him to stop throwing, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Saturday. Sale is expected to begin throwing again soon.

“He’s had a small, it’s a personal medical issue — it’s not orthopedic, it’s not COVID-related — that paused his throwing for a little while,” Bloom said. “So, we want to respect the privacy that it’s not baseball-related. He should be back throwing in a matter of days, but it’s obviously slowing him down. Everything else is fine.”

Sale has been on the 60-day injured list since April 4 after he suffered a stress fracture in his right rib cage in March. Bloom said the Red Sox were originally hoping to have Sale back around when he’s first eligible on June 6, but that’s now been pushed back at least a few weeks. A late June return for Sale sounds like the best-case scenario.

Sale threw a seven-pitch bullpen on April 26, marking the first time he’s thrown off a mound since the rib injury.

James Paxton also experienced a setback as the new Red Sox starter works his way back from Tommy John surgery. Bloom said Paxton had a “little” posterior elbow soreness that they had checked out and imaged, but it isn’t a major concern.

The Red Sox previously had believed Paxton – who signed a one-year, $10 million deal with a two-year team option – was ahead of schedule in his recovery, with a return before the All-Star break possible. But that seems unlikely now.

“It’s rare that you get from one end of a Tommy John rehab to the other without a little bump in the road,” Bloom said. “It doesn’t look like a big deal. He’s not throwing right now, but hopefully we’ll be ramping him back up in the next couple of weeks.”