A sigh of relief is coming from Jersey Street as Chris Sells was “feeling great” on Wednesday morning after dominating a rehab debut with Double-A Portland on Tuesday night.
The day after tomorrow is always a big test. A pair of New York-based aces, including Tommy John with Cell, Noah Syndergaard and Luis Severino, both failed the day after testing in their minor league rehab assignments and were sidelined all summer.
With a new nutrition plan that cut gluten and alcohol from her diet, among other changes, Sale has been a model of good health in her recovery over the past few months.
Next stop: Another start with Double-A Portland on Sunday.
“Everyone is excited for what we saw yesterday,” Cora said. “I am happy with where I am today and hope we continue to move forward the way it should be and they will join us whenever he is ready.”
Tuesday night sold 98 mph in 3-2/3 hitless innings for the Sea Dogs.
“That was a little off mechanic-wise in the beginning, and now it’s part of progress,” Cora said. “He is pitching in front of the fans. The competition is a little better. But he settles down and he is able to repeat his delivery. The slider was really cool. Fastball was clearly up, velocity-wise. Everyone is very happy with the way outing. While he was warming up, he was excited. He was a little far. But gradually he was able to replicate it and that was great.
It is uncertain whether Sale will need to start one or two more rehabs before returning, but it is certainly possible that Sunday’s start could be his last before he returns to the big leagues for the first time in two years.
Cora made an interesting comment when scheduling her rotation for the rest of the week.
“We are going to Tanner Hawk, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Iovaldi and Martin Perez over the weekend,” Cora said. “If all goes well and he’s healthy, we’ll go to Nick Pivetta on Monday, Garrett Richards on Tuesday and we’ll decide what we do after that.”
It is not clear whether he was referring to the recovery of the cell or someone else.
With the Hawks rotating, the Sox will remain with the six-man group going forward.
“I think it’s beneficial to them,” Cora said. “Although we have just come off the All-Star break, although it rained yesterday, it was something we had planned ahead of the season and we will stick with it.”