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Sale not ready to pitch for Red Sox in Game 5 of ALCS

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BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 05: (EDITORS NOTE: Multiple exposures were combined in camera to produce this image.) Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees in Game One of the American League Division Series at Fenway Park on October 5, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

HOUSTON  — Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale was still feeling weak Wednesday and won’t start Game 5 of the AL Championship Series.

Sale threw in the outfield for 10-15 minutes before Game 4 in Houston, but manager Alex Cora said he didn’t throw a bullpen session as planned.

Cora said the lanky lefty ace was still feeling weak and had lost some weight because of a stomach illness that forced him to spend a night in a hospital after he started the ALCS opener against the Astros.

“He’s feeling better compared to yesterday, but physically he’s not there yet,” Cora said before Game 4. “So I think if necessary he’ll pitch Game 6. He feels that he’ll be ready for that one. And we’ll go from there.”

The Red Sox took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series into Wednesday night’s game. Game 6, if necessary, would be Saturday night in Boston.

Dave Dombrowski, the team’s president of baseball operations, said Sale told him that “he’s fine and he’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”

Cora didn’t announce a starter for Game 5, adding that decision would be dictated by the outcome of Game 4.

“We’ve got a few options, but we’ll manage this one, see where we’re at at the end and decide who starts tomorrow,” Cora said. “I’m learning very, very quick that in the playoffs you live today, you figure out today, win or loss. And then tomorrow you have plenty of time to think about it.”

Those options include Game 2 starter David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez or Joe Kelly.

Sale did not speak to reporters Wednesday.

Cora said earlier this week that Sale started feeling ill right after Game 1 and went to a hospital early Sunday morning.

Sale was released Monday from Massachusetts General Hospital after remaining there overnight for observation. He rejoined the team Tuesday in Houston before Game 3.

The club hasn’t specified Sale’s ailment or treatment, though Cora has said it was nothing serious.

Sale struggled with his control in Boston’s 7-2 home loss to the Astros on Saturday night. He allowed two runs, four walks and hit a batter in four innings.

The lefty made just one start between July 27 and Sept. 11 because of mild left shoulder inflammation, then made four starts during the rest of the regular season. He beat the Yankees in the Division Series opener and pitched one inning of relief in Game 4 as the Red Sox won the best-of-five series.

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