When the Red Sox announced that Chris Sale's visit to Dr. James Andrews earlier this month resulted in the famed surgeon recommending a treatment of platelet-rich plasma injections for his ailing left elbow, it was seen as a significant victory for the pitcher and the franchise.
After all, whenever a pitcher is linked to the nationally-known orthopedist, the prognosis is generally not positive. Far more often than not, Andrews is in a position of confirming a known diagnosis and Tommy John surgery is frequently the suggested course of action.
When the Red Sox put out a release that made no mention of any such procedure, it came with the proverbial good news/bad news element: Sale wouldn't be available for the rest of this season, thus dimming the team's already faint playoff hopes; on the other hand, the implication was that, with the PRP regiment, rest and rehab, Sale would be good to go in the spring of 2020, just when his five-year, $145-million contract kicked in.
Twice, in a media availability in the Red Sox clubhouse the day after he returned from seeing Andrews in Pensacola, Fla., Sale was asked directly if he had been assured by the surgeon that he hadn't suffered a tear in his ulnar collateral ligament -- the condition which often leads to a Tommy John procedure.
Twice, Sale answered in the affirmative. In other words, Andrews had given him that assurance.
But weeks later, a grimmer reality has surfaced, based on a number of factors.