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Olney: Red Sox future still hinges on Chris Sale's elbow

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What will Red Sox do next year with Sale? (1:01)

Tim Kurkjian says that the Red Sox will not reach the playoffs this season, so it's time for Boston to look ahead in regard to Chris Sale and his inflamed elbow. (1:01)

The story: The Boston Red Sox apparently received some good news about the condition of Chris Sale's elbow Monday with sources telling ESPN's Jeff Passan that Sale is expected to avoid Tommy John surgery. However, Sale will miss the remainder of the regular season as he rehabilitates the injury. Sale visited with Dr. James Andrews Monday and was treated with a platelet-rich plasma injection, the Red Sox said in a statement. Andrews also recommended a period of shutdown from throwing. Sale will be reevaluated by Andrews in six weeks.

The fallout: Avoiding Tommy John surgery has to be considered the best-case scenario, although there is still plenty of uncertainty. Sale's past two outings were some of his best work of 2019, and losing him could turn out to be the coup de grace to Boston's fading playoff chances this year. But Tommy John surgery would have also been an early body blow for the 2020 Red Sox, as they would have been tasked with trying to bounce back from a disappointing season without Sale. Still, there are questions about Sale's long-term future in terms of both health and effectiveness.