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Inbox: How does Sale compare to Pedro?

Reporter Ian Browne fields questions from Red Sox fans
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

Why and how is Chris Sale closer to Pedro Martinez than Jon Lester or Josh Beckett were?
-- @BrianFleming430

Lester and Beckett could both be very special on a given night or in a postseason series. They also had some solid, All-Star seasons in Boston and contributed to World Series championships. But Sale is more overpowering, much like Martinez was. The way Sale can combine a mid-90s fastball with that lethal slider makes him an extremely uncomfortable at-bat for hitters. It reminds me of the way Martinez used to baffle opponents with that fastball/changeup combination.

Why and how is Chris Sale closer to Pedro Martinez than Jon Lester or Josh Beckett were?
-- @BrianFleming430

Lester and Beckett could both be very special on a given night or in a postseason series. They also had some solid, All-Star seasons in Boston and contributed to World Series championships. But Sale is more overpowering, much like Martinez was. The way Sale can combine a mid-90s fastball with that lethal slider makes him an extremely uncomfortable at-bat for hitters. It reminds me of the way Martinez used to baffle opponents with that fastball/changeup combination.

In Martinez's career, he struck out 10 batters per nine innings. Sale's current career mark is 10.2. Beckett finished his career at 8.3, and Lester is currently at 8.4, so that illustrates how Sale is more overpowering.

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How thin is the ice underneath Pablo Sandoval and Steven Wright? Who can contend for their positions on the roster?
-- @ZacReeves

Given the potential upside of both players, the Red Sox will try to be as patient as they can. Sandoval now has a right knee sprain, so the club will get more of a gauge on that in the next day or two. Without question, his defense has been inconsistent. Some of this could be a product of all the time he missed last year. At the plate, Sandoval has displayed power, but not much else. At any rate, it's still too small a sample size to think he can't help this year. Marco Hernandez could be a nice option at third if Pablo doesn't rebound, particularly while forming a platoon with the right-handed-hitting Josh Rutledge.

As for Wright, if he can't perform better, Brian Johnson could be an option as the fifth starter until David Price gets back.

Which Xander Bogaerts will we see this year? The 2016 first-half version or the second-half?
-- @1995ALMVP

The early returns show that Bogaerts has his good swing back -- the one that led to him becoming an All-Star last year. For whatever reason, he got very out of whack mechanically in the second half last year. I think fatigue could have been a factor, as he played in 157 games and had 719 plate appearances. The Red Sox will try to get him more rest this season if possible.

Where's Carson Smith at in his recovery?
-- @mikeisverynice

Smith is still in the early stages of throwing regular bullpen sessions. His Tommy John surgery was less than a year ago. The hope is that he can be back in Boston's bullpen either late in the first half or early in the second half. Rushing him would be counterproductive at this point.

Who are you predicting to be the first significant callup from the farm system?
-- @W_Ashworth

Keep an eye on Blake Swihart and No. 3 prospect Sam Travis. They are both off to slow starts for Triple-A Pawtucket, but both are talented hitters. In both cases, opportunity is necessary for them to get back to Boston. Travis could fill in at first or DH. Swihart is an option behind the plate if either Sandy Leon or Christian Vazquez falters or suffers an injury.

How much longer before they pull the plug on Fernando Abad? Seems to have absolutely no role.
-- @Gauv822

The best way I can answer this is that the Red Sox will keep him on the roster until they have a pitcher they feel can bring more to the team. The hope is that Tyler Thornburg and Smith will be back at some point, meaning roster spots are going to have to open up. And when Price comes back, one of the current rotation members could be headed to the bullpen, creating more of a logjam. Clearly, Abad is third in the pecking order of lefties behind Robby Scott and Robbie Ross Jr.

Is Brandon Workman ready to help the bullpen?
-- @Bosoxgent

It is starting to look that way. Workman was powerful in his first three appearances at Triple-A this season, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out 10 over seven innings. If Workman can get back to being the type of reliever he was during the pennant race in 2013, Boston's bullpen could get a key addition. It has been a long road back for Workman after having Tommy John surgery two years ago.

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

Boston Red Sox, Chris Sale