Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom announced Sale's decision to undergo the procedure on his left elbow in a statement released Thursday. According to ESPN, Sale opted to have the operation now out of fear that delaying it could cause him to miss a significant amount of time in the 2021 season.
With the start of the 2020 MLB season delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the possibility of a considerable number of games being canceled reinforced Sale's decision, according to ESPN. Recovery from Tommy John surgery typically takes 12-14 months, putting Sale on track to return in early 2021.
Sale, 30, was entering the first year of a five-year, $145 million contract that he signed last spring. The left-handed pitcher was shut down last August because of elbow soreness after a disappointing 2019 campaign.
In 25 starts, Sale posted a 6-11 record an 4.40 ERA. After an off-season of rest, he returned to the mound in spring training but experienced another round of elbow issues March 1 and was sidelined again.
Sale, who was traded to the Red Sox before the 2017 season, has a 109-73 record with a 3.03 ERA and 2,007 strikeouts in 312 career appearances, including 232 starts, with the Chicago White Sox and Red Sox. The seven-time All-Star won a World Series championship with Boston in 2018.