Broken pinky finger latest setback for snakebitten Sale

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Jul. 17—Chris Sale must be cursed.

What other conclusion are we supposed to reach at this point?

It was bad enough Sale missed two years due to Tommy John surgery, but that's not an uncommon ordeal for pitchers. It was worse when he suffered a freak offseason rib injury that cost him the first half this year. That was bizarre, but at least he and the club could reasonably expect that when he came back, he'd be better than ever.

So for Sale to go down again, and in such spectacularly unlucky fashion? All you can do is shake your head.

Making just his second start of the season after returning from the rib injury, Sale exited Sunday's game after being hit in the pitching hand by a 106 mph line drive off the bat of Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks. Sale immediately made his way to the dugout, flashing a clearly disfigured pinky finger to the trainer before he disappeared into the clubhouse for treatment.

About an hour later the Red Sox confirmed the bad news everyone watching likely knew was coming. Sale's finger is broken and he'll be headed back to the injured list.

Who knows when we'll see him again.

For this to happen to Sale after everything he's gone through these past few years is difficult to stomach. Long one of the game's best pitchers, Sale has taken one gut punch after another and now what should have been his grand return looks destined to become yet another lost season.

You can't even chalk this up to Sale being injury prone either. It's just unbelievably bad luck.

For the Red Sox this is a devastating setback that could have massive ramifications going forward. As the club heads into the All-Star Break the Red Sox find themselves below the playoff cutline and struggling to keep their heads above water in a fierce AL Wild Card race. Sale was supposed to give the club a badly needed boost heading into the second half, but now the club will once again have to find a way without him.

The uncomfortable possibility also exists the front office might decide to blow it all up and enter full selloff mode at the trade deadline.

For a club that was just trying to survive to the All-Star Break, Sunday couldn't have possibly gone worse. Sale is gone, possibly for the rest of the season, and now the Red Sox face an uncertain future in both the short and long-term.

Email: mcerullo@northofboston.com. Twitter: @MacCerullo.