A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away, Chris Sale came to the Boston Red Sox in a deal that would change the future of the franchise. Thirty-five wins, five hundred and nineteen innings, seven hundred and sixty-three strikeouts. Not to mention Another world series title added in 2018, all between stints of rest and rehab – rest and rehab on his troubled elbow, until what we all knew was coming. In March of 2020, Sale went under the knife in LA, Tommy John had come calling. Since then Red Sox Nation waited and waited for the return of their Ace. Yesterday, the wait ended. 

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Mission Accomplished

The 32-year-old Sale completed his return from Tommy John surgery by taking the hill at Fenway yesterday in front of an electric crowd. Pitching five innings, giving up only two runs on consecutive home runs by Baltimore Orioles Austin Hays and Trey Mancini in the third. Relying mostly on his sharp slider, the left-hander struck out eight without walking a batter. It was a vintage Sale and after the win he let the media know how grateful he was to be back doing what he loved.

“Today was a special day for me and a lot of other people,” he said. “Like I said, this game was ripped out of my hands. I had a hole in my chest for two years. I’ll be completely honest, I took days for granted. Through all of this, I’ve had a huge perspective change. I can tell you one thing, I’m not wasting another day of my big league career.”

When Sale left the mound after the fifth inning his manager Alex Cora greeted him with a hug in the dugout. 

“It was a good feeling, man,” Cora said. “I haven’t had that feeling in a while. I know ’19 was a grind for him, spring training through the season, it was really hard. … I will never forget that moment when we got back to the clubhouse (today).”

 

Cora wasn’t finished 

“He was amazing. He was great,” Cora said. “Today was a special day for this organization, what he went through, him grinding through the whole process and not feeling good about himself because he wasn’t able to contribute for the first time in his career.”

The Boston Red Sox bats came to the party as well.  

Rafael Devers got Boston off to a fast start with a three-run homer in the first against Jorge López (3-13). J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer and Bobby Dalbec added a solo shot during a seven-run fifth inning — Dalbec hit his second solo homer an inning later, and Hunter Renfroe connected in the eighth. All helping Boston to a 16-2 victory. 

But the story yesterday was about Chris Sale. About a man on a mission, a man who knew in his heart could help this team become relevant again. About a man who once again felt like a member of his team. 

As always you can follow/give me grief on Twitter @TMurph207 

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Featured Image via Fred J. Field for the Boston Globe