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Red Sox place Chris Sale back on DL with left shoulder inflammation

The presumptive AL Cy Young favorite heads back to the DL just six days after being activated.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Photo by Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox have placed left-handed starting pitcher Chris Sale on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, per a club announcement Saturday:

Sale, 29, spent nearly two weeks on the DL earlier this month with the same injury, so this development is undoubtedly alarming for the Red Sox. On the bright side, however, Sale says his shoulder doesn’t feel as bad as it did the first time he went on the DL, as MassLive’s Chris Cotillo tweeted Saturday. It could be devastating for the Red Sox if Sale’s injury lingers into the postseason, though at 87-36 they can afford to pump the brakes a bit until the playoffs start, and they’re lucky to have a surplus of legitimate starters with Nathan Eovaldi, Brian Johnson, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price, and Hector Velazquez on the 25-man roster, Eduardo Rodriguez set to begin a rehab assignment Monday, and Steven Wright nearing a rehab stint.

Sale made just one start after being activated from the DL on Sunday, holding the Orioles to a hit and no walks while striking out 12 over five shutout innings. This season, he leads qualifying AL starters in ERA (1.97), opponent batting average (.175), and WHIP (0.85).

Sale’s injury is just the latest development in what’s been an unfortunate week for AL Cy Young contenders; Trevor Bauer was placed on the DL on Tuesday with a stress fracture in his leg that could keep him out for the rest of the season. Though Sale presumably will come back and strengthen his case before the end of the season, his and Bauer’s injuries could open the door for guys like Blake Snell, Corey Kluber, Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton to push for the award.