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Sale to undergo MRI after leaving start with left shoulder soreness

Winslow Townson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Boston Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale was removed from Thursday's start against the Cincinnati Reds in the fourth inning due to left shoulder soreness, the team announced.

Sale will have an MRI on Friday to determine the exact nature of the injury, manager Alex Cora said after his team's 8-2 win, according to Jen McCaffrey of The Athletic.

Sale's velocity noticeably declined during a difficult fourth inning. He briefly stayed in the game after the initial mound visit from the training staff but was removed following a second conversation with trainers shortly thereafter.

"I cannot be irresponsible," Cora said of the decision to pull Sale, per The Associated Press. "We know each other. Obviously, it's not easy with everything he has gone through, but I've got to take care of him."

Sale missed several weeks of the 2018 season due to left shoulder inflammation.

Once one of the most dominant strikeout artists in baseball, the 34-year-old has been hampered by an array of injuries over the last five seasons. Sale underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn elbow ligament in 2020 and only made two appearances last year while dealing with rib and finger ailments.

Sale was enjoying a stellar month of May, sporting a 2.42 ERA with 30 strikeouts and four walks over his last four outings prior to Thursday. The run marked his first sustained success since returning from the elbow surgery.

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