Chris Sale dazzles in Braves Spring Training debut

MLB: JAN 27 Braves Braves Fest

Most fans weren’t able to watch it live, but Chris Sale made his first appearance in a Braves uniform Tuesday afternoon, showcasing a vintage version of himself. The seven-time All-Star made it through two perfect frames, punching out four of the six batters he faced.

Spring Training stats are about as meaningless as a forgotten dream. The only thing that matters is getting yourself ready for the start of the season, as players, especially pitchers, work on a number of things they’ve been tweaking the entire offseason.

However, there are some aspects that can be taken away from each outing, particularly for a pitcher like Chris Sale, who hasn’t had a healthy offseason in about five years. He finally got that opportunity this winter, and he showed up to Braves Spring Training looking like the pitcher that made seven straight All-Star games and never finished outside the top six of the AL Cy Young race.

Sale’s fastball had a floor of 94 and even touched 97. It also had some serious run to it.

It’s a notable development because over the last several seasons in which Sale has missed time with one injury after another, his fastball was typically sitting 93-94. Now, coming off his first healthy offseason in years, he’s sitting closer to 95-97, and this is only his first start of Spring Training. That should have Braves fans very excited for what’s to come when he toes the mound in a game that actually matters.

You can’t talk about Chris Sale in the year 2024 without acknowledging the injury history. He’s only made 31 starts since the end of the 2019 season, but if he can stay healthy, the stuff is still clearly there for him to return to the dominant pitcher he was five years ago.

Photographer: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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