Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale, a former FGCU star, will not need Tommy John surgery

Boston Red Sox and Former FGCU star pitcher Chris Sale appears to have avoided elbow ligament replacement surgery, the team confirmed Monday.

Sale, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Saturday with left elbow inflammation, flew to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Monday. ESPN first reported the news.

Sale underwent an MRI six days ago which came back inconclusive, prompting a visit to Andrews, according to the report.

“Sale was evaluated by Dr. James Andrews this morning in Pensacola," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in a statement released by the club. "Dr. Andrews confirmed that Sale has inflammation in his left elbow and treated it with a platelet-rich plasma injection. Dr. Andrews also recommended a period of shutdown from throwing. Sale will be re-evaluated in six weeks by Dr. Andrews.”

Six weeks would make it the end of the season, meaning Sale's year is done. The surgery, more commonly known as Tommy John surgery, can keep a pitcher out for 12 to 18 months.

Sale, 30, is in his third season with the Boston Red Sox, and was part of the 2018 World Series champion team. On Aug. 13, the seven-time All-Star became the quickest in major league pitcher history to reach 2,000 career strikeouts.

In a text, Sale's father Allen referred comment to his agent B.B. Abbott, but Abbott said in an email any health-related issues would be announced by the Red Sox. 

The 6-foot-6 left-hander was having one of his worst season as a pro, with a 6-11 record and 4.40 earned-run average. He had 218 strikeouts in 147 1/3 innings. For his career, Sale is 109-73 with a 3.03 ERA and 2,007 strikeouts in 1,629 2/3 innings.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale warms up as pitchers and catchers report for their first workout at their spring training baseball facility on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

Last season, Sale ended up on the injured list twice, both with mild shoulder inflammation.

This spring, Sale signed a five-year, $145 million contract extension. Sale will earn his $15 million club option this season, with the new deal starting in the 2020 season and going through 2024.

Sale was picked 13th overall in the first round by the Chicago White Sox in the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft, then made his major league debut on Aug. 6. After seven seasons with the White Sox, he was dealt to the Red Sox. 

The Lakeland native was named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year in 2010. FGCU, under coach Dave Tollett, was the only Division I school to offer him a scholarship.

Sale lives in Naples with his wife Brianne and sons Rylan and Brayson. He has frequently spent part of his offseason returning to FGCU to work out and chat with players, as well as making appearances at FGCU basketball games tied into the charity Laces of Love, which provides new shoes to low-income children.