Red Sox pitcher suffers setback in recovery from injury

The Red Sox are pausing Garrett Whitlock’s throwing program after the right-hander reported elbow soreness, manager Alex Cora told reporters on Friday, via Chris Cotillo of MassLive. He’ll head for imaging over the weekend to determine the severity.

Red Sox pitcher suffers setback in recovery from injury

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Garrett Whitlock

Whitlock has spent exactly one month on the injured list, but not for an elbow problem. A left oblique strain knocked him out of action after four starts. He made a rehab appearance at Triple-A Worcester on Wednesday. Whitlock looked good in that outing, tossing 4 2/3 scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Cora indicated he felt fine during the appearance before experiencing the elbow discomfort the following day.

Boston expected that Whitlock would return to the MLB rotation at the start of next week. That’s no longer the case. The test results will determine how long he’s out of action. Whitlock had two elbow-related injured list stints in 2023, the latter of which cost him five weeks between July and August. Back in 2019, he underwent Tommy John surgery while a prospect in the Yankee organization. Ironically, that procedure is likely a big reason Whitlock ever landed in Boston, as it presumably contributed to New York’s mistake of leaving him off its 40-man roster before the 2020 Rule 5 draft.

Whitlock hasn’t had a full season as a starting pitcher since his time in the minors. He was an excellent multi-inning relief weapon for his first two MLB campaigns. Boston gave him 10 starts last year before his July injured list placement. He worked out of the bullpen after returning. The Sox moved him back into the starting staff to open this year. He allowed only four runs in 18 1/3 innings prior to the oblique injury.

Cooper Criswell has stepped into the rotation behind Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford and Tanner Houck. Signed to a $1M contract last winter after being non-tendered by the Rays, Criswell has been quietly excellent through his first 29 1/3 frames for the Sox. He owns a 2.76 ERA with a solid 23.3% strikeout percentage and a tidy 5.8% walk rate.

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