The Red Sox are on the verge of a boost to their rotation, with starters Brayan Bello and Garrett Whitlock set to return. Whitlock will be the first, with Julian McWilliams of the Boston Globe reporting that Whitlock will pitch Tuesday against the Rays.
Whitlock has been taking a little extra time to prepare for the season following hip surgery in September. While he’s excelled mostly as a reliever for Boston, the team came into the year planning to use him as a starter and it appears they’re not deviating from that. Whitlock owns a 2.24 ERA in 112 2/3 relief innings, and a 4.15 ERA in nine starts and 39 innings over his two big league seasons.
It’s unclear yet who will drop out of the rotation, although Kutter Crawford’s spot would appear most at risk. Boston doesn’t get a day off until April 27, so the boost to their struggling rotation is timely. Whitlock’s return could be closely followed by that of Bello. The youngster is scheduled to make another rehab start on Tuesday, with the hope being he’ll go for six innings. As Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe notes, manager Alex Cora wouldn’t commit to him coming of the IL after that, but if he goes that sort of length without any issues then a return can’t be far away.
Bello, 23, worked to a 4.71 ERA over 57 1/3 innings last year. It was a promising rookie season for Bello, and underlying numbers such as FIP (2.94) looked a lot more favorably on his work. Bello had been dealing with forearm tightness during spring training, forcing his delayed start to the season. Like Whitlock, he figures to be a key part of any success Boston’s rotation might have this year.
Here’s some more from around the game:
- Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle was transferred to the 60-day IL today, meaning the earliest he’ll return will be the end of May. That’s a significant blow for a banged up Yankees bullpen that also lost Jonathan Loaisiga to the IL today. Per Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, manager Aaron Boone did not consider Kahnle to have suffered a setback as a reason for the move to the 60-day, but instead that they just anticipated he’d have a longer buildup. Boone added that he could see Kahnle appearing in minor league rehab games in early May. Kahnle re-joined the Yankees this winter on a two-year, $11.5MM deal.
- The Tiger announced (Twitter) a series of medical updates, including that right-hander Michael Lorenzen is scheduled to make a rehab start Triple-A today. Lorenzen did indeed make that start, going 2 1/3 innings (56 pitches) and giving up four earned runs. Lorenzen is returning from a left groin strain. The team also announced that right-hander Beau Brieske continues to receive further medical evaluation on his right upper arm discomfort. Meanwhile, starter Casey Mize is playing catch three times a week and Tarik Skubal is playing catch six times weekly.