On Chris Sale, after getting a third opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttache (having already gotten a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews), the lefty has been diagnosed with a flexor strain in his elbow, per the Boston beat reporters on Twitter. The flexor mass is a collection of muscles and tendons that are used to move your fingers, and they come together in your forearm near your elbow. You may recall that Colby Lewis’s 2012 season was derailed by a torn flexor tendon which he initially sought to pitch through — Sale’s issue isn’t, it sounds like, as bad as Lewis’s injury, but he’s been prescribed a week’s worth of rest before throwing again. Apparently neither Andrews nor ElAttache have recommended surgery, but Sale will probably miss at least the month of April now, and if the elbow doesn’t feel better after a week’s worth of rest, they may have to revisit that.
As for Griffin Canning, the Angels’ righthander is getting a second opinion on his balky elbow today, and the Angels are supposed to have more information on Friday about his prognosis. There’s a lack of clarity here, but the initial indications make it sound like it isn’t a cut-and-dry situation where the UCL is torn and Tommy John surgery is the only realistic route — it may be, like Sale, a flexor issue, or it could be that there’s a partial tear that can be treated with rest and rehab or with other methods short of Tommy John surgery.
Both the BoSox and the Angels are very light on starting pitching depth, which means that Sale, for Boston, and Canning, for Anaheim, are rather key elements in the chances of their respective teams having success in 2020. Each team should have a clearer picture as we get closer to Opening Day.