The Red Sox announces a few roster moves today, with right-hander Garrett Whitlock placed on the 15-day injured list due to right elbow inflammation, retroactive to July 3. Left-hander James Paxton was placed on the paternity list while pitchers Brandon Walter and Tayler Scott were recalled in corresponding moves.
Whitlock started Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays but departed after just one inning due to elbow tightness. Sean McAdam of MassLive reported yesterday that Whitlock would likely land on the IL but that the club wasn’t overly concerned with the nature of the injury. With the upcoming All-Star break, it’s possible that Whitlock only misses a couple of turns through the rotation.
Even if it ultimately proves true that the issue is minor, it’s not ideal timing for the Sox. The rotation is already a bit short-handed with Chris Sale and Tanner Houck each on the injured list already. Corey Kluber and Nick Pivetta each pitched poorly enough earlier in the year to get moved to the bullpen, with Kluber now on the IL as well. Pivetta has pitched well as a reliever of late and the club might prefer to keep him doing that for as long as it’s working.
Those factors have led to the club running a four-man rotation of late, using bullpen days and off-days to make it all work. With Whitlock now out of action, they are down to just Paxton, Brayan Bello and Kutter Crawford. Paternity list stints last from one to three days, meaning Paxton should be back shortly. The upcoming All-Star break will help the club out but they still have to get through six games before that and will have six straight coming out of the break as well.
For Whitlock personally, this is yet another setback in his attempts to establish himself as a bonafide big league starter. After a successful rookie campaign as a reliever in 2021, the Sox tried moving him to the rotation last year with mixed results. He started the year with four relief appearances and then nine starts before landing on the IL due to hip inflammation. When he returned, he was kept in relief and finished the season with an ERA of 3.45 in 78 1/3 innings.
His ongoing hip issues ultimately required surgery, which landed him on the IL to start this year. He eventually returned but this is now the second time he’s hit the IL this year due to an elbow issue. He’s made 10 starts and logged 51 2/3 innings with a 5.23 ERA. His strikeout rate has dropped to 21.8% after being at 26.4% last year.