Garrett Whitlock injury could officially put Red Sox's 2024 season in peril

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox / Paul Rutherford/GettyImages

Just as it seemed the Boston Red Sox's bad injury luck was improving, the team offered a potentially grim update on Garrett Whitlock.

The Red Sox announced Friday that the pitcher experienced right elbow soreness after his May 15 rehab start. Whitlock has been shut down and is in Boston to undergo testing on the afflicted arm. Alex Cora announced that the Red Sox will know more about the type and severity of Whitlock's injury on May 20.

His rehab outing with Triple-A Worcester was a success. Whitlock pitched 4.2 shutout innings with five strikeouts and one walk. The righty's recovery took longer than anticipated when he was placed on the 15-day injured list on April 17, but it appeared his return to the rotation would be well worth the wait.

Whitlock was originally placed on the IL with an oblique strain. His recent elbow soreness is a new development and the Red Sox's rotation could be in jeopardy if his injury is serious.

Red Sox shut down Garrett Whitlock after he reported elbow soreness post rehab start

Whitlock has pitched to a 1.96 ERA with 17 strikeouts and seven walks in 18.1 innings. Boston's pitching staff has recently shown its first signs of weakness — Brayan Bello gave up five runs in his most recent outing and Kutter Crawford allowed four on May 13 against the Rays. Whitlock's rehab start numbers were reassuring and fans hoped he'd bring his previous dominance back to the starting rotation, but an elbow injury could end his season.

If Whitlock's season is ended or he is sidelined long-term by his elbow issues, all is not lost for the Red Sox. Cooper Criswell has pitched exceedingly well for Boston, although he also allowed more runs than usual in his most recent start. Criswell has logged a 2.76 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 29.1 innings and he's been a huge part of Boston's pitching dominance. While the Red Sox might have the bodies to stay afloat, however, they do not have the talent, as Whitlock represented one of their few potential upper-echelon options.

Hopefully, Whitlock's injury is not so severe that it ends his season or sidelines him for months. The Red Sox's starters could use a boost of confidence to get back to their early-season selves after their recent outings, and a healthy Whitlock could would bring just that. Plus, isn't it about time one injury situation goes the Red Sox's way?

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