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Sale good to go for Sunday against deGrom

MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- When Alex Cora bumped into Chris Sale in the weight room on Wednesday afternoon, he could tell the ace had bounced back well from his one-inning "opener" on Tuesday.

That upbeat demeanor was about all Cora needed to see to officially line Sale up for his next step, a three-inning stint against the Mets on Sunday in which he'll be opposed by a fellow stud pitcher in Jacob deGrom.

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BOSTON -- When Alex Cora bumped into Chris Sale in the weight room on Wednesday afternoon, he could tell the ace had bounced back well from his one-inning "opener" on Tuesday.

That upbeat demeanor was about all Cora needed to see to officially line Sale up for his next step, a three-inning stint against the Mets on Sunday in which he'll be opposed by a fellow stud pitcher in Jacob deGrom.

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"He's encouraged," said Cora. "Yesterday was his first big league outing, and like he was all over the place -- and he admitted it. And the game sped up with him right away with the double and it's like, 'Oh, wait a minute. I've got to compete.' But he'll be fine. At the end he struck out two, induced a popup. I know Sunday will be better."

After facing the Mets, Sale will next pitch on Sept. 21 in Cleveland and his final start of the regular season is expected to be Sept. 26 at home against the Orioles.

From there, Sale would have eight days of rest before Game 1 of the American League Division Series, but the Red Sox would probably keep him busy with batting practice or perhaps a simulated game.

"He's going to play catch today," said Cora. "He's throwing a bullpen [session] on Friday and we'll go from there. Everything seems that he's OK. Just regular soreness. For Day 1 after the start, it was a positive."

Long night for Cora after clinch

Though the Red Sox accomplished their first goal by clinching a postseason berth on Tuesday night, it was not a restful night at home for Cora. Once again, the manager provided some humor in his pregame media session on Wednesday with talk about his 1-year-old twin sons, Xander and Isander.

"Rough night by the twins, honestly, last night. They were awful," said Cora. "They woke up every hour last night. If anybody has any ideas for them to sleep the whole night, send me an e-mail. That was bad."

Once Cora wiped the sand out of his eyes, he received many complimentary text messages from friends and family members for the Red Sox becoming the first MLB team this season to clinch a ticket to the postseason.

"There are a lot of people that are proud of what, supposedly, I'm doing," said Cora. "Like I tell everybody, I'm proud of the group. This is a group, [and] they have high expectations. The goal is to win the World Series."

Barnes getting better

The Red Sox have been without setup man Matt Barnes for the past 10 days, as he has been dealing with inflammation in his left hip.

"He's feeling better," Cora said. "He played catch Monday, he played catch yesterday and he's playing catch today. Nothing yet as far as scheduling or a bullpen [session], but [it's] good to see him go out there and play catch."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale