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Sale hit by liner, says he'll be ready for opener

Left-hander leaves final spring start with left hip contusion
Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Chris Sale left his final Spring Training start in the top of the first inning with a left hip contusion after getting hit by a line drive off the bat of Houston's J.D. Davis.

Sale, the Red Sox's scheduled Opening Day starter, had thrown just 26 pitches, 16 for strikes, facing four batters. He had recorded two outs with one hit, one walk and one strikeout.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Chris Sale left his final Spring Training start in the top of the first inning with a left hip contusion after getting hit by a line drive off the bat of Houston's J.D. Davis.

Sale, the Red Sox's scheduled Opening Day starter, had thrown just 26 pitches, 16 for strikes, facing four batters. He had recorded two outs with one hit, one walk and one strikeout.

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Shortly after, Sale said the injury was not serious, and he expects to be ready for Opening Day.

"I don't see anything lingering from this," Sale said. "Looked a lot worse than it really is."

Manager Alex Cora said Sale had X-rays, which were negative, and he expects Sale to pitch Opening Day.

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"I bet, yeah," Cora said. "He was committed to throw more pitches in the game. I was like, 'No you're not throwing.'"

Sale, who finished second in American League Cy Young Award voting last season, immediately crumpled to the ground after being hit. He got up and walked around the back of the mound as Cora and trainers came out from the dugout. Sale left the game, walking off the field on his own.

"When it first hit me, it kind of got me in the hip, but got the nerve [the iliotibial]," Sale said. "So it shot all the way down to my foot. So that's what kind of made me worried. I was telling them when I was out there, 'Give me a minute. It'll come back. I'll be fine.' They didn't want to wait, so came in here, got it evaluated, looked at, figured out [it was] nothing serious, just a bruise.

"It kind of just shocked me more than anything, that initial blow."

Video: HOU@BOS: Sale exits with hip contusion in 1st inning

Sale wasn't the only one it shocked.

"It's not what you want to see," Cora said. "That's the thing about the late part of Spring Training, it's just a game [where] anything can happen. We saw it the last few days in Arizona. You see that, and you always think the worst. But [we'll] see how he reacts tomorrow, and we go from there."

Boston had been bringing Sale along slowly this spring in an attempt to monitor his workload and keep him strong throughout the season. He had planned to go six innings, throwing around 80-90 pitches on Saturday. The team will map out a plan over the next few days to be sure his workload is where it needs to be for Opening Day.

"We'll see where he's at tomorrow," Cora said. "If he needs a day, he needs a day. But we stretched him enough. Obviously he needs work before that. If he's pitching on Thursday, we'll make sure he gets his work, and we go from there."

But Sale was aware of the injury to San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner on Friday. A fractured finger on the pitching hand of the Giants' ace will sideline him for 4-6 weeks.

"Yeah, that's another reason we're thankful it hit me where it did," Sale said. "I don't have a whole lot of padding anywhere on me, but if I'm going to get hit, somewhere in the hip or the butt's going to be the place to go. Better than a rib, arm, hand, even the face. So this was best-case scenario."

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Red Sox on Saturday.

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale