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Chris Sale pleasantly surprised with progress

GLENDALE, Ariz. — When Chris Sale went down with foot and ankle injuries three weeks ago, he admitted Saturday that he couldn’t envision doing what he was able to do Friday — throw 60 pitches off a mound at full tilt.

The Sox said that Sale would be out three weeks.

“No I didn’t think I’d be throwing on a mound,” said Sale, who sustained an avulsion fracture on the outside of his right foot and a sprained ankle. “I figured three weeks was like OK, we can start moving around. It actually ended up being a lot better than I thought, being a little bit quicker. Not getting ahead of ourselves but hopefully it keeps going that way and be out there pretty soon.”

Sale is hoping he can make a Cactus League appearance at some point. But he has a ways to go. On Monday, he’ll begin side-to-side lateral movement drills taking ground balls and perhaps moving off the mound. But he said the foot and ankle “felt fine” throwing Friday, with his foot taped up and padding in his shoe.

“I could pitch right now, it’s just the moving around part,” he said.

“But yes I would say I’m closer than … farther.”

Sale declined to speculate on when he’ll pitch during the regular season. The optimistic view from the Sox is six days after Opening Day April 6. It’s safe to say the Sox won’t rush him or take any risk that something goes askew with his lower half that will cause unusual stress on his upper half.

In the time he’s been out, Sale has kept the arm working but for four days after the injury. He’s did the pitchers’ shoulder program two or three times a week, on a knee against a well, threw off flat ground and lightly off a mound.

“It wasn’t the most ideal throwing program but I was still throwing so I’m not too far behind as far as my arm being in shape,” he said.

There has been more inactivity as usual, though, which he admitted made him restless.

“I’ve watched every episode of Breaking Bad in I think 18 days and am now starting to Google knock-knock jokes. So it’s safe to say I’m losing my mind a little bit,” he said.