Red Sox

Changes for the Red Sox’ rotation on the horizon, beginning with Garrett Whitlock’s return

Whitlock will return on Tuesday and a couple more starters could make their returns in the coming weeks.

Garrett Whitlock could provide help to the Red Sox' starting rotation. Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

The Red Sox’ starting rotation has arguably been their weak link in the first seven games of the season, but they expect some new faces and rearrangement soon.

First up, the return of Garrett Whitlock. Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed to reporters Saturday that Whitlock will start Tuesday against the Rays after completing his second rehab start of the season on Thursday. Whitlock allowed one run on one hit, one walk, and eight strikeouts in six innings pitched with Double-A Portland.

Whitlock told reporters prior to Saturday’s game against the Tigers that his outing “felt good” and he feels ready to get going.

“It felt like I was back to being healthy, back to being my regular self. I just went out there and attacked hitters, taking it one inning at a time — how I usually do it,” Whitlock said.


“It’s good to be back, but I’m ready to really contribute and help the team out and contribute, so I’ll feel even better.”

The next change coming in the upcoming days will be switching Corey Kluber and Chris Sale in the rotation. Kluber, who was the Red Sox’ Opening Day starter and made his second start before Sale, will have his third start of the season pushed back to Thursday. Sale will move up a day in the rotation, starting Wednesday’s game against the Rays instead of Thursday’s game.

Cora explained to reporters that he made the switch to split up his two top right-handed pitchers in the rotation.

The Red Sox could have another new face in the rotation by next week. Brayan Bello will make a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on Tuesday with the hope that he pitches six innings after suffering a forearm injury during spring training.

Cora said he isn’t sure if Bello’s start on Tuesday will be his last rehab assignment before re-joining the Red Sox.

“We’ll talk about it,” Cora said. “But everything is going well so far. So obviously let him pitch Tuesday and then see how it goes, how we feel about it and then we’ll make a decision.”


James Paxton follows Bello in the possible return list. He’ll start for Worcester on Sunday and is expected to pitch four innings. Cora isn’t sure how many more rehab assignments Paxton will have before making his first MLB appearance with the Red Sox, but he doesn’t expect it to be too far along.

Entering Saturday’s game against the Tigers, Red Sox starting pitchers have gone 2-4 in seven starts with an 8.01 ERA and have allowed a combined 29 runs (two unearned) in 30 1/3 innings pitched.


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