BOSTON -- The Red Sox placed left-hander Chris Sale on the injured list with shoulder inflammation on Friday, another setback for the seven-time All-Star as he attempts to re-establish himself as a reliable member of the rotation.
"It's just kind of a gut punch," Sale told reporters before Friday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays. "I hate feeling like this. I started having fun playing baseball again. And now, back to not having fun. That sucks."
A day after being pulled from a start in the fourth inning, Sale said doctors weren't sure what the injury was but he didn't expect to need surgery. Acknowledging his past arm problems, he said he had always come back before and will do so again.
"If there's anything I can prove, it's you're not going to keep me down," he said. "I'm just going to keep rolling. You knock me down I'm going to get back up. It's obviously not where I want to be ... but I've been through this (expletive) before."
Sale, 34, who hasn't had an injury-free season since 2017, essentially remained on schedule for the first two months of this season, going 5-2 with a 4.58 ERA through 11 starts. Since getting knocked around for five runs in five innings by the Guardians on April 30, he was 4-0 with a 2.23 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 32 1/3 innings.
"I was actually kind of getting used to sitting in front of you guys talking about good stuff," Sale said. "It's been a rocky road. I felt like I was over the hump, I really did. I felt like I was back to being myself. For something like this to happen, it's obviously deflating."
But he felt something went wrong in the second inning of Thursday night's start against Cincinnati and struggled through another inning-plus. He left the game in the fourth after two visits from the medical staff.
"I was raring back for 91 (mph)," he said. "That's just not it. Ever."
Sale had an MRI and a CT scan on Friday morning, and the team was awaiting the results.
"I have a couple more tests I have to go through until we can kind of give a definitive answer," he said. "Still, it's obviously not a situation you want to be in."
Sale, 34, has been to the IL in each of the last five seasons, missing all of 2020 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
"Everything with the elbow's fine," said Sale, who also missed time last year with a series of freak injuries to his rib, finger and wrist. "We're strictly looking, pinpointing the shoulder."
The team reinstated righty Corey Kluber from the paternity list.