Sale available to start Midsummer Classic

July 4th, 2017

ARLINGTON -- John Farrell said he hadn't spoken to American League All-Star manager Terry Francona, as the Red Sox manager wants to let his Indians counterpart's phone stop "ringing off the hook" before calling to discuss how Francona might use the Red Sox's All-Stars.
One thing Farrell will almost certainly remind Francona: lefty ace Chris Sale is available to start for the AL. Sale's final start before the 88th All-Star Game presented by Mastercard will be Thursday vs. the Rays, so he will be on normal rest on July 11. In his first season with Boston since coming over from the White Sox, Sale is 11-3 with a 2.61 ERA, leads the Majors in strikeouts (166) and is tied with the Nationals' Max Scherzer for the most innings pitched this season at 120 2/3.
"I think Chris's performance speaks for itself," Farrell said. "I know I'll get a chance to talk with [Francona] at some point. Here's the thing -- Chris is going to start Thursday, it's right on line for his fifth day, it's not like he's starting Saturday or Sunday where you'd prefer him not to pitch. So I know he's going to be available to pitch, but where [Francona] lines him up remains to be seen.
"[Sale has] been arguably the best starting pitcher in the American League or even baseball. He's a diligent worker, ultra-focused and a great teammate. The color of his socks have changed but his performance hasn't."
Rodriguez could return Saturday
Left-hander is scheduled to make a rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday, and if that goes well, he could rejoin the Red Sox on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Farrell said. Rodriguez is working his way back from a left knee subluxation and hasn't pitched for Boston since June 1.
"He'll likely rejoin us when we get to [St. Petersburg] to throw a bullpen [session]," Farrell said. "The decision would be, do we activate him to make him available that last day or two before the [break] or do we start him once again on rehab with lining him up coming out of the break?"
Rodriguez did not fare particularly well in his first rehab start last Thursday, allowing six runs (five earned) on nine hits in three innings for Double-A Portland. He has a 3.54 ERA in 10 starts this season for the Red Sox.