Red Sox coaches and medical staff walked out to Sale and escorted him back to the dugout.
He is still expected to start on Opening Day.
"It looked a lot worse than it actually is", said Sale, who added that he will undergo precautionary X-rays.
This wouldn't be the first major pitcher's injury this week, San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner left a game on Friday after a line drive fractured his hand.
Houston's J.D. Davis swung on a 2-1 pitch in the top of the first inning which appeared to hit Sale's thigh after the NESN broadcast showed multiple replays.
The ball hit Sale so hard that it caromed into foul territory. So that's what kind of made me anxious.
"That's what I was telling them when I was out there", Sale said.
"It kind of just shocked me more than anything, that initial blow". "It'll come back. I'll be fine.' But they didn't want to wait". "I don't have a whole lot of padding anywhere on me, but if I'm going to get hit, somewhere in the hip or the butt's going to be the place to go. So this was best-case scenario". He came into the game with opponents hitting.180 this spring.
Sale retired George Springer on a flyout to left field to begin the game.
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