Chris Sale needs Tommy John surgery, dooming Boston Red Sox

Before the 2010 draft, the Chicago White Sox held a long internal discussion about Florida Gulf Coast pitcher Chris Sale. They loved his stuff and his competitiveness, but there was worry about how he might hold up. Sale was skinny and threw with an awkward arm action in which he raised his throwing elbow at or above shoulder height, a red flag for most pitching observers because it causes a “late load” of the baseball that first strains the shoulder and then the elbow.

White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams once told me he went around the room asking the opinions of those he considered pitching experts and medical and training personnel. The verdict: Sale’s mechanics put him “right on the borderline” of a potential breakdown.

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