Boston RHP Garrett Whitlock says his season is over with elbow surgery on horizon

BOSTON (AP) — Boston Red Sox right-hander Garrett Whitlock said his season is over and he's expected to have his right ulnar collateral ligament repaired with an internal brace.

The 27-year-old Whitlock, who had Tommy John surgery when he was in the New York Yankees' farm system in 2019, said the less evasive surgery is currently being planned.

Whitlock is scheduled to see Dr. Jeff Dugas on May 29 in Birmingham, Alabama.

“The rehab from this is a ton easier than Tommy John. It’s one of those things where you keep moving forward,” Whitlock said in the clubhouse Saturday before the Red Sox played the Milwaukee Brewers.

Recovery from internal brace, which uses artificial material to make the repair, has allowed pitchers to return to the majors in as little as nine months. Tommy John surgery, which uses a tendon from elsewhere in the body to replace the torn ligament, has a rehab period of 12 to 18 months.

Whitlock was upbeat and vowed to be ready for 2025.

“Just because I’m dealt another blow, it’s how you get up, how you fight and that’s how I’m viewing this and how I’m attacking it,” he said.

Off to a 1-0 record with a 1.96 ERA in four starts, Whitlock went on the injured list April 17 with a strained left oblique. He was on track to return after a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on May 15, but woke up the next morning with pain in his elbow.

“The MRI showed some changes to the ligament,” he said. “I felt fantastic in that outing. Woke up the next day and couldn’t straighten my arm. My arm looked like a balloon. I was like: What the heck happened here?

“It was one of those things where a fluke thing happened,” he said. “Just another thing I’ve dealt with. I’ve just got to keep a positive attitude.”

Free agent acquisition righty Lucas Giolito, who was expected to be a key part of Boston’s rotation, was lost during spring training and had the internal-brace surgery on his pitching elbow.

Whitlock said he wants to continue to help the team's charity — the Jimmy Fund — while he's rehabbing.

“It’s baseball. There’s so much more to this than baseball,” Whitlock said. “I’m going to dig in and do the Jimmy Fund thing I’ve been doing and get ready for next year.”