Red Sox to activate ace Chris Sale from DL, ease him back in

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox are ready to slowly ease ace Chris Sale back into action.

Manager Alex Cora says the left-hander will be activated from the disabled list and pitch about two innings Tuesday night against Toronto at Fenway Park. Cora said Sale would throw a maximum of 40 pitches for the AL East leaders.

Cora made the announcement before Boston hosted Houston on Friday. The Red Sox have the best record in the majors and, if they win their division, would begin the playoffs in exactly four weeks.

Sale originally went on the disabled list July 31 with mild left shoulder inflammation. He returned for a start Aug. 12 against Baltimore, going five innings and striking out 12. But he quickly as placed back on the disabled list a week later with the same ailment.

“Little by little, we’re getting healthy,” Cora said.

Sale has been dominant this season, going 12-4 with a 1.97 ERA. His ERA is the second-best in the majors, and he has struck out 219 in only 146 innings. In July, he started the All-Star game for the third straight year.

Cora said the progression for Sale with be two innings his first outing, followed by three in his next start.

“We’ll keep going and then last one — whenever it is — it’s like a full-go six innings, 100 pitches or seven innings 100 pitches,” Cora said. “There’s a few days with the off-days there where we’ll take advantage of him building up and taking care of other guys.”