Two prominent members of the Red Sox pitching staff looked sharp in their respective rehab outings for Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday night.
Garrett Whitlock got the start and Kutter Crawford came out of the bullpen for the WooSox in their series opener against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs at Polar Park. Whitlock allowed just on earned run on five hits and zero walks to go along with four strikeouts over four innings of work.
After stranding a runner at third base in the top of the first, the right-hander retired the side in order in the second and then gave up a solo home run to Jake Cave with two outs in the third. He ended his outing by working his way around a two-out double in a scoreless fourth inning.
Finishing with 49 pitches (35 strikes), Whitlock induced eight swings-and-misses. The 26-year-old hurler also sat between 92-95 mph with his sinker, 80-84 mph with his changeup, and 76-80 mph with his slider, per Baseball Savant.
“It was good,” Whitlock told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison-O’Day). “I’m happy with the outing and everything, throwing a lot of strikes, no walks, so I’m happy about that.”
Whitlock was placed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow ulnar neuritis on April 25, just three days after he first felt his arm going numb from the elbow down “a couple of times” during his start against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
“For me it was when I got to full extension, everything kind of just went numb, that’s probably the best way to kind of describe it,” he explained on Tuesday. “But the nerves have calmed down, so we’re all good now. Everything felt normal tonight.”
Whitlock, who turns 26 next month, is on the injured list for the second time this season already. The righty began the year on the shelf as he continued to work his way back from right hip surgery last September. He is slated to make one more rehab start for the WooSox in their series finale against the IronPigs on Sunday.
Crawford, who is rehabbing a left hamstring strain he sustained on May 3, took over for Whitlock in the top of the fifth. Much like Whitlock, the right-hander yielded one earned run on three hits and zero walks with four strikeouts over three innings of relief.
After sitting down the first five batters he faced, Crawford served up a solo shot to Jordan Qsar with two outs in the sixth. He then maneuvered his way around a pair of hits in an otherwise clean seventh inning to ultimately pick up the winning decision in the WooSox’ 9-4 victory.
Crawford needed 41 pitches (26 strikes) to get through three innings of one-run ball. The 27-year-old induced eight whiffs while featuring a 92-96 mph four-seam fastball, an 86-88 mph cutter, an 81-84 mph slider, an 82-83 mph changeup, and a 78-81 mph curveball.
“Both had some balls that were hit good, but the wind was blowing out pretty firmly,” WooSox manager Chad Tracy said. “I thought Whitlock looked great, landed his breaking ball for strikes, got ahead in the count. Fastball was good. Kutter was the same way they, both looked really good.”
Because Crawford’s stint on the 15-day injured list was backdated to May 4, he is eligible to come off the injured list this Friday, when the Red Sox open a three-game weekend series against the Padres in San Diego. Barring a surprise, Crawford is expected to travel and be with the club for the start of their nine-game West Coast road trip.
(Picture of Garrett Whitlock: Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)