If history is kind, Red Sox’ hopes for Chris Sale in 2021 should be ‘Wait ’til next year’

Tomase: What history tells us about Sale’s recovery timetable originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Any hopes the Red Sox have of contending in 2021 rest on a skinny pair of shoulders. Left-hander Chris Sale had Tommy John surgery on March 30 — his 31st birthday — and expects to pitch again next year.

But how quickly can the Red Sox anticipate his return? And what kind of performance should they expect when he gets there? If history is any guide, a more realistic scenario has Sale returning to form in 2022 — if at all.

According to an invaluable database maintained by Jon Roegele, 67 pitchers between the ages of 30 and 32 underwent Tommy John between 1974 (Tommy John himself) and 2018 (Johnny Cueto). Of those 67, 56 returned to the big leagues in an average of 18 and a half months. Ten never made it back at

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