BOSTON — The return of Red Sox ace Chris Sale from a stress fracture in his right rib cage will be delayed for a few weeks due to what baseball manager Chaim Bloom called a “personal medical issue.”

The original plan was for Sale to be back just when he was first eligible to return from the 60-day injured list, which was June 4.

Now, the best-case scenario for Sale’s first start in 2022 will be around the third week of June.

“Yeah, give or take,” Bloom said. “It might be a bit past. I do not know exactly.

Bloom couldn’t divulge much about the injury.

“It’s a personal medical problem, it’s not orthopedic, it’s not Covid-related, [it has] paused his throw for a little while,” Bloom said. “So we want to respect his privacy and it’s not baseball related. He should be back in a few days, but that obviously slows him down. Everything else is fine.

Sale, a seven-time All-Star, has struggled with injuries in recent seasons.

In 2018, he battled a shoulder injury. This post-season, he had a stomach ache which slowed him down. This month of October ended well for Sale, as he fired the last pitch at Dodger Stadium to win the World Series championship for Boston.

In 2019, Sale developed an elbow problem in August which forced him to miss the final six weeks of the season. He tried rest and rehabilitation in the offseason, but suffered another setback in spring training.

Sale had Tommy John surgery on March 30, 2020 and hasn’t pitched at all this season.

He returned on August 14, 2021 and went 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine regular season starts. Sale hasn’t fared as well in the playoffs, going 0-1 with an 8.00 ERA in three starts in which he totaled nine innings.

All the systems were supposed to go on sale in 22, but he injured his ribcage during the lockout and couldn’t let the team know until the new collective bargaining agreement was reached on 10 March.

Although the Red Sox entered Saturday with a 10-17 record and in last place in the American League East, the starting rotation has been the club’s strength so far.

It will be a much bigger force when Sale returns to action.