CHICAGO -- Earlier this week Arizona Fall League rosters were announced, and the Red Sox will send six Minor Leaguers to the Mesa Solar Sox, headlined by top prospect Michael Chavis.Chavis, the Red Sox's No. 1 prospect and No. 97 prospect in baseball per MLBPipeline, missed a majority of the
CHICAGO -- Earlier this week Arizona Fall League rosters were announced, and the Red Sox will send six Minor Leaguers to the Mesa Solar Sox, headlined by top prospect Michael Chavis.
Chavis, the Red Sox's No. 1 prospect and No. 97 prospect in baseball per MLBPipeline, missed a majority of the season due to an 80-game suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs, but he collected 167 at-bats across three levels this season. The 2014 first-round Draft pick spent most of his time at Double-A Portland and was promoted to Triple-A on Aug. 24, hitting a combined .305/.389/.551 with nine home runs.
Though Chavis is on the doorstep of the Major Leagues, the Red Sox want him to make up for missed time by participating in the AFL and Puerto Rican winter ball, manager Alex Cora said.
"He missed all those games, he needs the at-bats," Cora said. "He missed Spring Training, too -- he was hurt -- so it will be good for him to get more repetitions against some quality competition. It will help him with his development."
Chavis, a third baseman from Sprayberry High School in Marietta, Georgia, was suspended on April 6 after testing positive for Dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHMCT). He denied knowingly ingesting the substance at the time.
The Red Sox will also send No. 6 prospect, third baseman Bobby Dalbec, No. 7 prospect, left-handed pitcher Darwinzon Hernandez, No. 10 prospect, first baseman Josh Ockimey, right-handed pitcher Teddy Stankiewicz and left-handed pitcher Josh Taylor.
Sale could be an 'opener'
Cora had joked a few days ago that Chris Sale could return as an "opener" for a few starts to build up his strength in time for the playoffs, but that possibility is increasingly likely. The Rays popularized the idea of using an "opener," or a relief pitcher who pitches the first inning of games in lieu of a traditional starter.
Because Minor League regular seasons end Monday, Sale would not be able to participate in a rehab assignment. In order to make up for those innings, Sale could make a couple starts in which he only goes a few innings.
"He wants me to make sure I call him 'The Opener,'" Cora said Sunday. "We'll build him up little by little. I don't know if it's three [innings] in the first one, or whatever, but we'll talk about it. That's going to be the case."
Cora added that Sale will likely return to the rotation sometime during the next homestand against the Astros, Blue Jays and Mets.
Sale threw a bullpen session on Saturday and will throw another during the upcoming three-game series in Atlanta that begins Monday before the Red Sox decide his next course of action. The ace lefty is on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation.
Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Chicago.