Braves: Chris Sale has exciting things to say about his health entering the 2024 season

MLB: AUG 23 Red Sox at Astros

The Braves’ most substantial acquisition of the offseason came in a trade with the Boston Red Sox for seven-time All-Star Chris Sale.

The move was met with mixed reviews. On the one hand, Chris Sale — even as he approaches 35 years of age — still has electric stuff. He currently owns the record for the highest K/9 in MLB history at 11.1, and in 102.2 innings last year, Sale posted an 11.0 K/9 with a strikeout rate of 29.4%, just below his career average of 30.5%. He’s still got it, but you can’t talk about Chris Sale in the year 2024 without mentioning the injury concerns.

Sale really hasn’t been healthy since 2018. Since then, he’s dealt with a slew of injuries, including Tommy John surgery. However, for the first time in years, he says he’s coming into the season 100%.

“This is the first time I’ve gone into an offseason without dealing with something since 2018,” Sale said. “It’s been a long time. This was fun. I had a lot of fun this offseason, being able to play baseball and do things that I haven’t been able to do. I was throwing bullpens here early in the offseason and I was supposed to throw 20 and you end up throwing 33-34, and it’s like, I haven’t been able to do this.”

It’s been nothing but encouraging signs for Chris Sale since joining the Braves. He’s healthy for the first time in years, and his infectious personality is already being raved about by people within the organization. From a fit perspective, it’s seamless.

Most expect Chris Sale to come in and slot in the middle of the Braves rotation. Atlanta doesn’t need him to be the ace he once was the entire season. They have the horses to win the division with or without him. Where his value lies is in the postseason, a place where the Braves have experienced horrors since winning the World Series in 2021.

With that being said, Sale is the ultimate competitor. That’s not how he’s viewing this season. He wants to be the best version of himself possible, and the best version of Chris Sale is still one of the best pitchers in baseball. Don’t be surprised if at the end of the season, we look up and he’s been the best starting pitcher on the Braves staff.

Photo: Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire

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