Red Sox

Red Sox Notebook: Chris Sale’s illness could put Opening Day start in jeopardy; Kevin Pillar survives a trying year

(Getty Images)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- For the second day in a row, the Red Sox on Saturday publicly conceded that a key player might not be available for Opening Day on March 26.

On Friday, it was outfielder Alex Verdugo, thanks to what was revealed Saturday to be an L-5 stress fracture in his back.

On Saturday, interim manager Ron Roenicke acknowledged he couldn't guarantee Chris Sale would be ready, either. Fortunately for the Red Sox, that's less about Sale's balky elbow, which curtailed the final two months of last season, and more about the flu and mild pneumonia which has been an issue the past 10 days.

Sale was checked out by the team's medical and training staff Friday afternoon and cleared to begin baseball activity. But having lost some strength in the last little while, he needs more time to ramp back up, which could result in him being a little behind when the regular season gets underway.