No, the reason was far different than most would have expected: an infection due to a belly-button ring.
That's the story Sale told Saturday when asked how he was feeling ahead of his World Series Game 1 start on Tuesday against the Dodgers, who defeated the Brewers in Game 7 of the NLCS. With a straight face, the ace left-hander said some belly-button bling was behind his hospital stay last weekend in Boston, one that ultimately caused him to miss a Game 5 start.
"I had irritation from a belly-button ring, just constantly taking it in and out, causing irritation and got a rash down there," Sale told reporters at Fenway Park, according to the Boston Herald. "Had to take care of that. Doctors and nurses over at MGH were awesome. Things happen. You handle them and keep moving forward."
It was unclear if Sale was joking, but he has had some fun with the reason for injuries in the past. After breaking his foot in 2015, he showed up to spring training and told reporters it happened while he was delivering roundhouse kicks to the head of a home intruder.
Sale lasted just four innings in Game 1 against the Astros. The next day, the Red Sox announced that he had been admitted to MGH with a stomach illness. He was released Monday and rejoined the team in Houston on Tuesday, but he was called off his Game 5 start because he wasn't at full strength. David Price pitched instead, leading Boston to a series-clinching win.
"Just had a stomach thing," Sale said. "It's not fun. It's definitely not fun watching your team. Got to do what you got to do, though. It happened, we dealt with it, and we're here now. We keep rolling."
Sale said he lost some weight while out but feels back to 100 percent now. He threw a bullpen session Saturday and will start Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday in Boston.