Red Sox’ Garrett Whitlock strikes out 6 in first rehab start for Triple-A Worcester

Red Sox starter Garrett Whitlock began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Friday afternoon.

Getting the Opening Day start for the WooSox as they went up against the Syracuse Mets at Polar Park, Whitlock allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over four innings of work in an 11-2 win.

Whitlock’s bid for a no-hitter was short-lived, as he gave up a one-out double to Brett Baty in the top of the first inning. The right-hander then stranded Baty at second base by punching out the next two batters he faced in Francisco Alvarez and Mark Vientos.

After retiring the side in order in the second, Whitlock gave up back-to-back singles to Carlos Cortes and Danny Mendick to lead off the third. Cortes advanced to third when Baty grounded into a 4-6-3 double play and scored Syracuse’s first run on an RBI double off the bat of Alvarez.

Whitlock left Alvarez at second by fanning Vientos for a second time. He then worked his way around a one-out Jonathan Arauz single and Khalil Lee walk in the fourth by striking out the last two Mets he faced in Lorenzo Cedrola and Cortes. Worces

Though he was scheduled to pitch into the fifth inning on Friday, Whitlock reached his pitch limit (75) in four, thus ending his outing earlier than anticipated. He threw 50 strikes and induced 12-swings-and-misses while mixing in his sinker, slider, and changeup.

According to The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the 26-year-old sat at 94 mph and topped out at 95 mph with his sinker out of the gate but saw his velocity tick down as the game progressed. By the top of the fourth, he was hovering around 91-92 mph, indicating that he is still working on building up stamina.

“It’s still just building the pitches up, continuing to work on everything and continue to sharpen the tools to be ready to go,” Whitlock told reporters (including’s Matt Vautour). “The backdoor slider was working really well. It’s just a matter of trying to get it glove side to righties or if I’m trying to back-foot it.”

Whitlock is building back up after undergoing right hip surgery in September, which resulted in him getting a late start in spring training and starting the season on the 15-day injured list. Because his stint on the injured list was backdated to March 27, the righty is not eligible to be activated until April 11 at the earliest.

As such, Whitlock is expected to make one more minor-league rehab start before re-joining Boston’s starting rotation. He will meet with the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Saturday to determine where he will be pitching next. Worcester will be in Buffalo all of next week while Double-A Portland opens its season at home against Binghamton on Thursday night.

“Only time will tell on that,” Whitlock said of where his next assignment will be. “But stuff felt good today. I’m building volume, trying to sharpen the tools. My spring training just started a little bit later than everyone else’s. Just treating this as another spring training outing and keep going.

“I’ve been rebounding really well,” he added. “It’s just a matter of the medical staff telling me where to go next.”

(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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