Chris Sale expected to return for Red Sox vs. Tigers

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Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale adjusts his cap after pitching a simulated inning at Polar Park.
Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale adjusts his cap after pitching a simulated inning at Polar Park.
Image: Allan Jung/Telegram & Gazette / USA TODAY NETWORK

Left-hander Chris Sale is expected to start on the mound for the Boston Red Sox when they open a three-game series against the visiting Detroit Tigers on Friday night, but he might not be there for long

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said the team plans to remove Sale (5-2, 4.58 ERA) from the 60-day injured list so he can start Friday's game, but Boston pitching coach Dave Bush said Sale will be on a pitch count similar to the number of pitches he threw (53) when he tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Worcester on Sunday


That was the second of two rehab starts Sale made for Worcester

Sale, 34, has spent more than two months on the IL with shoulder inflammation, and hasn't pitched in a major league game since June 1. He's made 11 starts for the Red Sox this season and posted a 2.87 ERA (15 runs in 47 innings) in his final eight starts before being placed on the IL


"The rehab down there (Worcester) went really good," Bush said. "He's excited. We're excited. We're looking forward to him being out there and being able to pitch the way he wants to

"He's thrown the ball well. That's always a big part of the rehab outing. Sometimes we're just building up pitch counts. Sometimes we're looking for things with the delivery. Sometimes it's making sure guys feel healthy and strong. He's been hitting all those lately

"We're better when he's out there. Just try to keep him healthy and let him go out there and compete the way he wants to. Like I said, we'll be better off with him back.

Sale is 11-8 with a 3.03 ERA in 34 career appearances (24 starts) against the Tigers


"We have Chris for X amount of pitches and innings and other guys ... they have to step up (Friday)," Cora said. "We've been waiting for this. Looking forward to seeing him pitch Friday in Fenway. Should be fun.

Left-hander Tarik Skubal (2-1, 3.67) is Detroit's probable starter. Skubal held Tampa Bay to one run (unearned) in 5 1/3 innings when the Tigers posted a 4-2 victory over the Rays on Saturday. He struck out six and walked one


Skubal is 1-1 with a 5.59 ERA in two career starts (9 2/3 innings) against Boston

The Tigers beat Minnesota 3-0 Thursday to extend their winning streak to three games


With set-up man Jason Foley on bereavement leave and closer Alex Lange dealing with control issues, Tigers manager A.J. Hinch had to get creative with his bullpen in the late innings Thursday. Chasen Shreve pitched the seventh, and converted starter Beau Brieske pitched the last two innings for his second save

"I didn't know what we would do for the ninth, but Beau was so good that we didn't have to worry about it," Hinch said. "We really didn't have a great game on Monday, but we bounced back and fought hard for these three wins. We had timely hits, guys were making good plays all over the defense, and we obviously pitched really well.


Boston is coming off Thursday night's 2-0 victory over Kansas City. The Red Sox enter Friday's game on a two-game winning streak

--Field Level Medi