The Red Sox optioned right-hander Kutter Crawford to Triple-A Worcester following Monday night’s 1-0 loss to the Rays, according to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo.
By optioning Crawford, the Red Sox have created an open roster spot for fellow righty Garrett Whitlock, who will come off the injured list and make his season debut against the undefeated Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.
Whitlock will start opposite All-Star lefty Shane McClanahan in the second game of this four-game series (first pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. ET). The 26-year-old began the season on the injured list after getting a late start in spring training as a result of undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right hip last September.
In two rehab starts with Worcester (on March 31) and Double-A Portland (on April 6), Whitlock allowed two earned runs on seven hits, two walks, and 14 strikeouts over 10 innings of work. He threw 75 pitches (50 strikes) in his first outing and 81 pitches (56 strikes) in his last time out.
Crawford, meanwhile, made Boston’s Opening Day rotation out of spring training to help fill the gaps left behind by Whitlock and Brayan Bello. In two starts already, the 27-year-old has posted an ERA of 8.00 (eight earned runs in nine innings) to go along with 12 strikeouts to just two walks.
Though he got roughed up by the Pirates in his 2023 debut last Monday, Crawford bounced back against the Tigers this past Sunday by scattering five hits and recording six strikeouts across five one-run innings to lead Boston to a 4-1 win over Detroit.
As noted by Cotillo, the Red Sox could have optioned or designated a reliever in order to keep Crawford up with the big-league club by moving him to the bullpen. It instead appears as though Boston would prefer that Crawford continues to work as a starter in Worcester so that he remains stretched out in the event that he is needed at some point down the line.
With Whitlock’s activation, the Red Sox have just two starters remaining on the 15-day injured list in righty Brayan Bello (right elbow inflammation) and lefty James Paxton (right hamstring strain). Bello is slated to begin a rehab assignment and start for the WooSox in their series opener against the Columbus Clippers at Polar Park on Monday night. Paxton, who started for the WooSox in Buffalo over the weekend, is not far behind, either.
(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)