That’s what it’s all about for Garrett Whitlock as he settles into his place in the Boston Red Sox’s starting rotation.
Whitlock is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Braves in Atlanta. This will be his fourth start of the season. He pitched a total of just 12 innings in his first three starts. And that’s by design.
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The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham calls the 25-year-old former New York Yankees prospect “a budding ace” and reports Whitlock will be good for about 90 pitches and six innings on Tuesday. “Obviously he’s not going to go seven innings. We know that,” (manager Alex) Cora said. “The pitch count is something we’re going to look at and stressful innings. He hasn’t done this in a while.
Whitlock’s career-high 120⅔ innings came as a Yankees minor leaguer in 2018. He pitched 70⅓ innings in 2019, his season cut short by Tommy John surgery in July. Whitlock missed all of 2020’s recovery and pitched 73⅓ innings as a reliever for the Red Sox in 2021 after being selected in the Rule 5 draft.
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According to the Globe, the Red Sox hope to gradually build up Whitlock to be ready for 180-200 innings, but for now they will remain “disciplined.” This includes giving him extra days off and “occasionally” skipping a start.
“There are a lot of ways to get there,” Bush (Red Sox pitching coach Dave) said. “It can be a bunch of starts in five innings and then add more when he has a physical breakthrough. I think it’s read the guy. If he’s tired after 75 throws, we’ll take him out. If he feels strong and if he throws well, we strengthen him. There is no hard cap at this stage. …Garrett has been a starter before, but it’s been a while. We need him to tell us how he feels. We are all aiming for the same goal.
Whitlock made 46 appearances last season in the Red Sox bullpen, posting a stellar 1.96 ERA. Boston rewarded him last month with a four-year, $18.75 million contract extension.
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Mike Rosenstein can be reached at [email protected].