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Nearly 15 months after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Chris Sale says he is confident he will be ready to contribute to the Boston Red Sox before the end of the season.

“One hundred percent,” Sale said Tuesday before knocking on a wooden table in front of him. “Unless something crazy happens. I’ll be there soon enough.”

Sale, 32, returned to Fenway Park on Monday and was throwing in the outfield. He threw again Tuesday, with manager Alex Cora saying the Red Sox ace threw 25 pitches, including a combination of his fastball, changeup and slider.

Sale last appeared in a game in August 2019 and is itching to make his return to the mound.

“If it was up to me, I’d be starting tomorrow,” he said.

Sale will remain with the team through at least the end of next week, continuing to throw bullpen sessions with the major league squad after spending months rehabbing at the spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida.

“He’s in a great place mentally,” Cora said. “Physically, he looks a lot stronger than two years ago. Just excited that he’s a baseball player again. Now we’ve just got to be patient. … It felt good to see him, to have him around, and now we get excited but at the same time, we have to be disciplined, we have to be patient and whenever he’s ready, we know he’s going to contribute.”

The next step for Sale in the rehab process would be throwing against hitters while he’s with the team in Boston. Head trainer Brad Pearson and pitching coach Dave Bush compared the intensity of Tuesday’s bullpen session to one a pitcher would go through in January.

“Basically, they said don’t get too excited,” Cora said.

Expressing his desire to return to competitive games, Sale said he would be willing to pitch out of the bullpen to build back toward being a starting pitcher, if it meant skipping rehab starts in the minor leagues.

“I would be game for that,” Sale said. “The quicker that I can be back on this team, I would like that. That is way above my pay grade and where I’m at right now. I’m focused on my next day and getting off the mound and then whatever the next step is, take that.”

Sale said that he was both pleased and displeased with the progress of his rehab.

“I’d like to be out there already,” Sale said. “From where I started in spring training to where I am now, I’ve done everything I possibly could to put myself in the best position. I’ve had a lot of help through this process. A lot of people guiding me and getting me through this. So I’ve been very pleased with what has been going on and where I’m at.”

The time away gave Sale a new appreciation for the mundane things a baseball player works through on a day-to-day basis during the season.

“I can already tell that I appreciate what I do on a daily basis more than I ever have in my life,” Sale said. “If it’s coming here and doing a shoulder program — which I don’t know if I ever heard of a pitcher who liked doing a shoulder program — but just appreciating the fact that I get to do it, just being able to throw, that I’ve been able to throw the last few months and it’s not going to be some big ceremonial game.”

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Settling in with Los Angeles Dodgers, Max Scherzer thrilled to have another ‘great chance to win’

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For a few hours on Thursday, it seemed as if Max Scherzer was headed to the San Diego Padres. Reports began to circulate at around 1 p.m. PT that the Padres were on the verge of acquiring the three-time Cy Young Award winner with a little less than 24 hours remaining before the trade deadline. Scherzer, who had accepted the fact that his time with the Washington Nationals was coming to an abrupt end, heard rumblings from teammates. But he hadn’t yet received a call from Mike Rizzo, the Nationals’ general manager.

“Rumors are rumors until you actually get the phone call,” Scherzer said. “The fact that Twitter was going off and I hadn’t gotten a phone call, I knew something else was probably in the weeds. That’s what it is. You can’t always fall for Twitter, but Twitter usually is pretty good.”

Roughly four hours later, the Los Angeles Dodgers emerged as frontrunners to acquire Scherzer and his teammate, shortstop Trea Turner. By the end of the night, the deal was agreed to. On Friday, it was finalized. On Saturday, Scherzer joined the Dodgers in Phoenix. And on Wednesday, in the second of a highly anticipated two-game series against the Houston Astros, he’ll make his Dodgers debut.

“It’s fun to join these guys because we have a great chance to win,” Scherzer said, “but it’s gonna take a lot of work to get there. Nothing’s assured yet.”

Scherzer had the ability to veto any trade because of his 10-and-5 rights (10 years of major league service time, five consecutive years with the same organization). The Nationals’ 5-17 start to July gave Rizzo clarity that he needed to, in Scherzer’s words, “give a facelift to the organization to provide resources.”

Scherzer, 37, said he was driving himself “crazy” trying to decide his next course of action. Rather than selecting a team he wanted to be traded to, he provided a list of teams he would accept. Given that he would only be joining that team for two to three months, he wanted to ensure that he remained in the National League and that he pitched in a city with a warm climate. His last start for the Nationals came on Thursday afternoon, when he pitched six innings, largely to alleviate industry concerns over the triceps issue that had forced him to skip a prior turn through the rotation.

On a bus ride back from Philadelphia later that afternoon, he received word he was heading to the Dodgers, the reigning World Series champions who lead the majors in run-differential but trail the first-place San Francisco Giants by 3 1/2 games. Albert Pujols greeted Scherzer with a hug when he arrived in the clubhouse.

“Crazy,” Scherzer, speaking via videoconference from Dodger Stadium on Tuesday, said of what the last week has been like. “Crazy’s the understatement, too. It was a lot easier before kids and dogs and everything, but now with three kids and four dogs, life’s a lot more hectic. We’re picking the circus up from D.C. and trying to get it to L.A. as soon as possible.”

Scherzer — whose acquisition became almost a necessity because of the uncertainty that surrounds Trevor Bauer and his alleged sexual assault — joins a clubhouse that includes Clayton Kershaw, Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger, David Price and Pujols, a sextet that has combined for six MVPs and seven Cy Young Awards.

From 2013 to 2021, Scherzer has accumulated 131 wins, eight invitations to the All-Star Game and a 2.86 ERA. Scherzer leads the majors in FanGraphs wins above replacement during that nine-year stretch with 48.4. Right behind him is Kershaw, who’s rehabilitation from a strained forearm has hit something of a lull, with 45.4.

“Obviously what he’s done in his career, it’s remarkable,” Scherzer said of Kershaw. “We came from the same draft class [in 2006], and everything he’s accomplished — it’s been great to compete against him. You push yourself to try and match what he can do. The fact that we’re now gonna be on the same team and get to compete for the same prize — I’m sure, as this keeps going along, we’ll be able to share more tips and tricks and just recognize different situations about how we both have evolved over the years of how we see the game now and how we can pitch around things.”

Scherzer comes to the Dodgers at the tail end of a seven-year, $210 million contract he signed with the Nationals in January of 2015. Scherzer’s performance somehow exceeded the expectations that came with that contract. The culmination came in 2019, when the Nationals defeated the Astros for the franchise’s first and only World Series championship. Scherzer’s departure now signals a drastic transition for the Nationals.

“The flags fly forever,” Scherzer said. “Everybody’s time in D.C., everybody’s hard work is to have the banner there. That’s something we’ll always remember. Happy I was a part of it, to be on those teams that were in the postseason but finally be on the team to punch it all the way through. At the end of the day, that’s why we play the game — to win the World Series.”

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Los Angeles Angels, Joe Maddon hope to get Mike Trout before season ends, though his ‘timeline keeps getting pushed back’

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ARLINGTON, Texas — The Los Angeles Angels are still without Mike Trout, but manager Joe Maddon said Tuesday they still hope to get the three-time American League MVP back this season.

Trout missed his 67th game since going on the injured list May 18 with a right calf strain. This is only the third time he has been on the injured list in his 11 big league seasons, and this is his longest stretch of missed games.

Trout, who turns 30 on Saturday, went on the injured list a day after he came up limping when he was on the bases in the first inning of a home game against Cleveland. He had been expected to miss six to eight weeks, but Tuesday marked 11 weeks since he was put on the injured list. Trout wasn’t with the team in Texas.

“Obviously, the timeline keeps getting pushed back,” Maddon said. “We all thought that he’d be playing right around now at the worst, and it’s not happening. We’ll keep playing it all the way through.”

With the Angels under .500 and in fourth place in the AL West with 55 games remaining after the second of four against the Rangers, Maddon was asked if there had been any thought of not having Trout try to return this season.

“He’s working really hard. He wants to get back, so we have not had a discussion of just giving up on him,” Maddon said.

When he got hurt, Trout was leading the major leagues with a .466 on-base percentage. He hit .333 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in 36 games.

Trout is in the third year of the $426.5 million, 12-year contract he signed during spring training in 2019. The overall value changed slightly when the pandemic shortened last season to 60 games, reducing his salary to $15 million from $36 million.

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Tampa Bay Rays’ Tyler Glasnow to have Tommy John surgery Wednesday

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Rays ace Tyler Glasnow will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday that will sideline him for the rest of this year and possibly all of next season as well.

The team announced the news during Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Glasnow has been on the injured list since June 15. The 27-year-old right-hander went 5-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 14 starts.

The news was not unexpected.

Glasnow visited Dr. Keith Meister on Saturday, at which time Rays manager Kevin Cash said surgery was the likely outcome.

The decision was finalized after a follow-up examination Tuesday.

Tampa Bay began the day leading the American League East by one game over the Boston Red Sox despite having 15 pitchers on the IL.

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