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Red Sox Notebook

Red Sox shut down Garrett Whitlock; reliever will have surgery on hip

Garrett Whitlock made 31 appearances in 2022, posting a 3.45 ERA in 78⅓ innings pitched.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

CINCINNATI – Garrett Whitlock’s 2022 season has come to an end.

The righthander will undergo surgery in New York next week to address a right hip impingement that had made pitching a painful exercise for much of this season, including the two months since an injured list stint over the ailment in mid-July. While Whitlock had expressed a desire to keep pushing through and contributing, the team felt that at this stage of the season it no longer made sense for him to do so.

“We’re trying to compete. We owe it to our organization, our fan base, and all that to try to win every game possible,” said Sox manager Alex Cora before Tuesday’s 5-3 win over the Reds. “But it gets to the point, like, ‘Okay, now we have to do it.’


“Towards the end, I talked to [chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom], I talked to [trainer Brad Pearson], I was like, ‘He’s going through a lot to pitch one inning.’ For me, just watching him, it was like, that’s too much. He kept saying, ‘Hey, you give me the ball, I’ll keep pitching.’ But at one point, you have to say, okay, let’s move on. … I think it’s the best thing that we can do, get him ready for next year.”

Cora described the arthroscopic procedure – which will be performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly – as “nothing major.” The Sox expect that Whitlock will have a normal offseason and anticipate that he’ll be fully ready for spring training next year.

But in what role? Whitlock spent time this year as both a starter (1-1, 4.15 ERA, 23.2 percent strikeout rate in 39 innings) and reliever (3-1, 2.75 ERA, 29.9 percent strikeout rate). The surgery is intended to precede a workout program that will ensure his availability either to start or relieve, depending on the outcome of conversations that will involve Red Sox officials, Cora, members of the coaching and medical staffs, and Whitlock.


“One of the reasons we went this route is to see what he can do in the future. And those conversations have started, obviously. We know where we are leaning towards, but we still have to wait for this to happen and see how he reacts to it, and go from there,” said Cora. “Obviously this kid is very talented and he dominated out of the bullpen, and he can be a good one from the rotation.

“I truly believe that 18 outs and 15 outs are very valuable. I know those three outs or six outs in the back end of the bullpen are important. But if you’re consistent with the first six innings of the games, you become a more consistent team.”

Pham’s homecoming

Tommy Pham was warmly received in his return to Cincinnati, where he played for four months before getting traded to the Red Sox a day before the trade deadline, going 2 for 5 in the series opener. Pham said that he remains close with several members of the Reds, and aspires to dominate both the Red Sox’ and Reds’ fantasy football leagues.

Pham, who hit .238/.320/.374 with the Reds and is now hitting .261/.317/.406 for the Red Sox – mostly out of the leadoff spot – suggested openness to re-signing with either team when he reaches the open market this winter.


Pham celebrates a ninth-inning double Tuesday against the Reds.Dylan Buell/Getty

“Gotta finish strong. I’ve got two more weeks. I’ve gotta finish strong,” said Pham. “The balls aren’t helping me, man. I’m getting killed this year.”

Pham suggested that the manufacturing specifications of the baseball in 2022 has made it all but impossible to hit opposite-field homers. Pham, who’d averaged 5.6 opposite-field homers per year in the last five full seasons, has just two in 2022.

“I’m getting killed on my oppo fly balls, man. I’m a guy that relied on my oppo juice,” said Pham. “This year it just ain’t there. It’s killing me.”

Concerns in Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico

Members of the Red Sox from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic were relieved to report that family members and loved ones were safe in the wake of the devastating floods and power outages brought by Hurricane Fiona. Still, they were mindful of the massive recovery efforts that will be needed on both islands in the wake of the latest natural disaster.

Obviously there’s going to be a lot of work to do,” said Cora. “Like we always do – I hate to say it – but we know the drill. Roll up your sleeves, get home, and start helping people.”

Story still on the shelf

Trevor Story remained out of the lineup with an ankle injury. He hasn’t played since Sept. 11. “We’ll keep grinding with him,” said Cora. “We don’t want these guys to just go on the [injured list], but we’re running a little bit out of time. He hasn’t had at-bats in a while, but he keeps pushing, taking grounders, doing his work. Hopefully he feels better and he’ll play hopefully at one point this week.” ... Connor Seabold (0-2, 11.91 ERA in three big league outings this year) joined the Red Sox as a taxi squad member on Tuesday. He’ll start on Wednesday against the Reds. … Nate Eovaldi is slated to make a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on Friday, which would position him to make two big league starts before the end of the year. … Righthander Kutter Crawford, on the injured list with a right shoulder impingement, won’t be able to pitch again in games this year, but the Sox are hopeful that he’ll be able to throw off a mound before the end of the season.


Alex Speier can be reached at alex.speier@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @alexspeier.