Next stop, Portland.

Chris Sale continued his comeback with another encouraging day on Saturday with his second and likely final rehab start with the Florida Complex League in Florida. Five days after he threw one inning, which included a strikeout of Rays star Wander Franco, Sale threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings and struck out six with no walks, but did hit a batter, as he reportedly reached 96 mph with his fastball.

“I texted with him, he felt like command was a lot better, stuff was good,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora told reporters in Cleveland, via NESN. “Able to go over two innings is important, and that’s something we’ve been talking about it like, if the pitch count is low, then we’ll push him to the next inning. That tells you where he’s at physically. It’s a lot different than last year, like I said. We’re very happy with the way he threw today, but obviously (Sunday) is a big day.”

If Sale’s body responds well on Sunday, the left-hander will throw a bullpen on Monday in Florida before flying to Portland for his next start. If the Red Sox choose to keep him on regular rest, he would pitch Thursday at Hadlock Field as the Sea Dogs face the New Hampshire Fisher Cats. Portland also plays at home on Friday. Worcester is on the road this week, but Sale could make his following – and potentially final – rehab start at Polar Park the week of July 4.

Cora said the plan is for Sale to pitch five innings in a minor league start before he returns to the Red Sox, which looks like it could come before the All-Star break. If he makes two more rehab starts, Sale’s season debut could line up when the Red Sox visit the Rays during a series July 11-14.

Sale suffered a stress fracture in his right rib cage while throwing to batters during the owner-imposed lockout in February. He had a few setbacks during his rehab, including a personal medical issue that forced him to briefly pause throwing, but he’s looked strong since.


“His arm looks great,” Cora said last week. “The best I’ve seen him in a while. The changeup, which is the one (pitch) he was missing last year because he was coming from surgery, is playing. It’s a good one.”

CONNOR SEABOLD, one of the Red Sox’ top pitching prospects, looks like he’s getting another major league chance. The right-hander joined the team in Cleveland on Saturday and is an option to start for the Red Sox in Monday’s series opener in Toronto after he threw just one inning for Worcester on Friday.

Seabold, who was acquired via trade in 2020 in the deal that also brought Pivetta to Boston, made his major league debut last September against the White Sox, when he gave up two runs in three innings. He’s looked good in Triple-A this season with a 2.09 ERA over 11 starts.

JAMES NORWOOD, who was designated for assignment last week after the Red Sox acquired the right-handed pitcher from the Phillies, cleared waivers on Saturday and was outrighted to Worcester.

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