Garrett Whitlock will make his first career start for the Red Sox when they go up against the Rays on Saturday, acting manager Will Venable told reporters at Tropicana Field on Friday evening.
Rich Hill, who has been on the bereavement list since his father, Lloyd, passed away last week, was originally slated to start Saturday’s contest. The Red Sox, however, opted to move Hill’s start to Sunday so that the left-hander could get an extra day of rest after being away from the team to attend his father’s services over the last few days.
With Hill’s spot in the rotation becoming vacant, Boston decided it would be best to have Whitlock fill in for the veteran southpaw on Saturday night.
Since coming over from the Yankees in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft, Whitlock has only been used by the Sox as a reliever. So far this season, the right-hander has posted a miniscule 0.93 ERA and 2.74 FIP to go along with 11 strikeouts to two walks across four appearances spanning 9 2/3 innings out of the bullpen.
On Saturday, the plan will be for Whitlock to throw three or four innings, as he will only be working on three days rest. Though it will be his first time doing it at the big-league level, starting games is nothing new for the 25-year-old, who made a total of 38 starts over three seasons (2017-2019) in the Yankees organization.
As noted by MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith, the Red Sox view Whitlock as a starter in the long-term. They made that much clear when they signed the righty to a four-year extension earlier this month that includes escalators based on the number of innings he pitches.
(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)