It’s too bad we weren’t there as flies on the wall when Garrett Whitlock learned he made the most of his long shot.
Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora revealed to reporters Friday the relief pitcher had a “priceless” reaction when Cora told him he had made the team’s Opening Day roster. Whitlock joined the Red Sox in December from the New York Yankees via the Rule 5 Draft, and has impressed Cora and Boston brass with his ability and dedication throughout spring training.
“As a manager, president of baseball operations, GM or whatever, it’s a great moment when you tell somebody, ‘You’re going to be a big-leaguer,'” Cora said via Zoom in a press conference. “And his reaction was priceless.
“It’s all about him. The organization did their homework, and we decided to draft him. From there on, it was up to him, and he did everything possible to make the team. I know he’s not going to stop trying to keep getting better: studying the game, doing all the right things for him to get to the next level.”
Whitlock, 24, had never pitched above Double-A and missed all of last season due to Tommy John surgery. He’s 1-1 with a 1.00 ERA in nine innings pitched this spring. In addition to his impressive performances, the poise he has shown during his short time with Boston has drawn rave reviews from Cora, who added the Red Sox will be cautious with the pitcher, as he continues to work his way back to peak fitness.
“With everything he has done throughout camp, not only on the field but the way he acts, the way he conducts himself, that adds to the equation,” Cora said. “We were very pleased to tell him (Thursday). We?re going to be careful with him, obviously. He?s a Rule 5 pick and he hasn?t pitched in a while. Everything we have seen has been good.”
The Red Sox have yet to finalize their roster, but Whitlock will be able to finish spring training with the comfort of knowing he’ll begin the season in Boston.
Hard work does pay off.