FORT MYERS — Chris Sale already has scared one of his throwing partners and forced David Price to duck out of the way during a bullpen session.
In other words, a successful debut with his new Red Sox teammates.
“He threw a bullpen maybe last Tuesday, I think it was,” Price said. “Me and (Rick Porcello) just stood behind him and watched it. You can see from behind how much of a problem he causes for hitters, just with his arm angle and his deception.”
At one point when Price was throwing next to his rotation mate, he had to step back on the rubber to give the 6-foot-6 Sale some extra space.
“Trying not to get hit,” Price said. “He’s pretty lanky. If I’m on the left side of him, I have to give him a little bit more room. He’s funky. I’ve watched him for quite a few years now, and there’s really nobody that’s like him as a starter in baseball with that arm angle and his height and just how long his arms are. He can make some pretty weird swings from those hitters, so it’s going to be fun to watch.”
Yesterday, after Sale finished his workout around the same time as Joe Kelly, the two flamethrowers lined up across from one another to play catch. Kelly, who throws over 100 mph, said he could barely handle the throws from Sale.
“The first couple were kind of tough,” Kelly said. “It’s like softball. You have to change where you’re looking at. I started looking at his hip to see where the ball would come out. . . . He’s got great stuff with a little bit of funk. That’s what makes him so good. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. To have him on our side, to get him over here, is only going to help.”
When Sale was first acquired back in December from the Chicago White Sox, some of the Red Sox started a group text.
“Everybody was going nuts,” Price said. “We couldn’t believe what had happened. We were all pretty pumped.”