Garrett Whitlock injury: Red Sox starter placed on IL with strained oblique as rotation hit by injury again

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The Boston Red Sox placed right-hander Garrett Whitlock on the injured list on Wednesday because of a strained left oblique, an ailment that caused him to prematurely depart his start against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday. In a corresponding move, the Red Sox recalled left-hander Joe Jacques from Triple-A.

Whitlock, 27, performed well to open the year. In four starts, he amassed a 1.96 ERA (219 ERA+) and a 2.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Granted, the Red Sox had limited Whitlock’s exposure, capping him at 15 or fewer outs in his three previous outings. 

The Red Sox are hopeful that Whitlock will be activated once he’s eligible to come off the shelf (in 15 days), manager Alex Cora told reporters. That would represent a positive outcome for a strained oblique. Baseball Prospectus’ recovery database indicates that players miss 38 days on average when they suffer oblique strains. That includes 46 days on average for pitchers.

Boston’s rotation depth has been thinned by injury several times this spring. Free-agent addition Lucas Giolito and prospect Chris Murphy are out for the year following Tommy John surgery. Nick Pivetta, meanwhile, has been on the shelf since the first week of the season after suffering a strained elbow flexor.

It’s unclear who will take Whitlock’s spot in the Red Sox’s rotation. The only healthy Triple-A starting pitcher on Boston’s 40-player roster is Naoyuki Uwasawa, a late-spring addition from the Tampa Bay Rays. Uwasawa, who has yet to pitch in the majors, posted a 2.96 ERA in 170 innings last year with Japan’s Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

The Red Sox entered Wednesday with a 9-9 record on the year. That put them in last place in the American League East.


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