The Red Sox have one very big reason to keep Garrett Whitlock on their active roster this year: Don’t let him return to the Yankees.
As Whitlock receives praise early on in spring training, it is an interesting subplot in the Rule 5 pick’s drive to make Boston’s team. If the right-hander sticks with them all year, he remains a Red Sock. Otherwise, he gets returned to the Yankees.
Whitlock is off to a good start. Manager Alex Cora has singled him out as someone who has impressed him. Pitching coach Dave Bush followed, raving about Whitlock’s work ethic. The team’s top decision-maker was effusive in his praise as well.
“I can echo some of the praise that Alex has heaped on Garrett Whitlock, who is a Rule 5 pick in our camp,” Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, according to MassLive.com. “I’m a little hesitant to do it because you never want to put too much on Rule 5 guys. These guys, you want them to be able to settle in at their own pace. But this guy has come back from Tommy John looking great, and what’s more impressive — almost — than how he’s throwing the baseball is how he’s carrying himself.”
The 24-year-old pitcher was an 18th-round pick of the Yankees in 2017. But after a strong 2018 campaign, he needed Tommy John surgery in 2019. The Yankees left him unprotected and the Red Sox took him. It may give him a better shot to stick.
“It doesn’t change anything and it’s definitely not comfort or anything like that,” Whitlock said. “Nothing’s given to anyone in this game so I don’t want to ever have that mentality. I have to fight and I have to earn anything I get.”