Garrett Whitlock's rehab start shows he's ready to return to the Red Sox

Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox
Cleveland Guardians v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Three Boston Red Sox starting pitchers missed time with injuries at once. Nick Pivetta, Garrett Whitlock and Brayan Bello all went down with different ailments within 15 days of each other.

Both Pivetta and Bello are back in action, and Whitlock took his final step toward coming back on May 15.

The righty made his first, and likely only rehab start with the Worcester Red Sox, and he threw like he's ready to rejoin the big league club. Whitlock posted 4.2 shutout innings, he walked one batter and struck out five. He threw 61 pitches, 40 of them were strikes.

Whitlock's rehab start was the best outing between him, Pivetta and Bello. Bello allowed two runs in 2.2 innings and Pivetta allowed four runs on three hits and four walks.

Garrett Whitlock is ready for Red Sox after quality rehab outing with Triple-A Worcester

Whitlock was pulled from Boston's April 16 game against the Guardians with no visible signs of injury. He was placed on the 15-day IL the following day with an oblique strain and his recovery took longer than the Red Sox anticipated.

The right-hander said he felt good after his outing with the Woo Sox, as his manager knew he would. Alex Cora was confident Whitlock would only need one rehab start after his pitches reached 95 miles per hour during a live batting practice. Barring any setbacks, Boston expects Whitlock to start during its next series against the Tampa Bay Rays from May 20-22.

Whitlock will be the final piece of the Red Sox's starting rotation to return to action. Boston held up unexpectedly well during three of its starters' absences — Cooper Criswell may be a household name among Sox fans now — but Red Sox Nation is ready to have its rotation back.

More Red Sox reads: