NEW YORK (AP) — A fast glance at his finger told Red Sox lefty Chris Sale, sadly, all he needed to know.
A broken pinkie on his pitching hand, damaged by a line drive. Another setback in an injury-plagued year for the Boston ace, his future for the rest of the season uncertain.
Sale screamed out in pain Sunday after being struck by Aaron Hicks’ 106.7-mph liner with two outs in the first inning at Yankee Stadium. The ball deflected into right field for an RBI single that gave New York a 3-0 lead.
“One look at this finger, I knew (it was broken) immediately,” Sale said. “That feeling of just that kind of cold water rushing through your body when something like that happens. I soon as I hit the ground, I looked down, the finger is gone.”
Sale immediately ran off the field, holding up his fractured finger. He was hurt on the final day of play before the All-Star break in a game Boston lost 13-2.
Boston manager Alex Cora didn’t rule out a return for Sale this season. The seven-time All-Star was to see a hand specialist in Boston later Sunday or Monday.
The 33-year-old Sale was making his second start since returning from a fractured rib. He threw 78 pitches in five scoreless innings Tuesday at Tampa Bay, and tossed 24 pitches against the Yankees before being forced to leave.
“We really felt bad about it,” New York ace Gerrit Cole said. “It’s well documented how hard he works and what he’s had to overcome to put himself in this position.
“It’s a good thing he’s got the tenacity that he has to continue. He’s got all the high character qualities that you’re going to need to have to overcome something like this. It’s just so unfortunate that he didn’t even get a foothold before it happened,” he said.
During the Major League Baseball lockout, Sale broke a rib while working out on his own.
Sale, who is signed through 2024 in a five-year, $145 million deal, has thrown just 48 1/3 innings for the Red Sox since the end of the 2019 season.
Last season, he went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts in his return from Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox reliever Hirokazu Sawamura replaced Sale. Boston is 16 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, who have the best record in the majors.