Garrett Whitlock knows he wouldn’t be living his dream if he hadn’t received plenty of help along the way.
The Boston Red Sox pitcher highlighted the influence three current teammates and his college coach have had in helping him adjust to the role of relief pitcher Thursday during his appearance on Sirius XM MLB Network Radio. After surprisingly earning a spot on the Red Sox Opening Day roster, Whitlock has enjoyed a stellar start to the season, holding opponents to a .100 average, allowing zero runs and striking out 11 in nine innings over four appearances out of the bullpen.
What makes Whitlock’s story even more amazing is the that he spent his early professional career as a starter in the minor leagues, had never pitched above Double-A level and he missed the entire 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery. But he’s getting by just fine with a little help from his friends.
“It’s definitely a little different (being a relief pitcher),” Whitlock said. “But I’m very fortunate. I’ve got great veterans around me. I’ve got Matt Barnes, Adam Ottavino and Matt Andriese that have helped me a ton when it comes to knowing when to warm up, how to get hot quick or maybe take it a little slower. Those guys have been amazing bringing me along and helping introduce me to bullpen life.
“Mentality-wise, my college pitching coach told me this, and it has been the best baseball advice I’ve ever had: ‘When they hand you the ball, go out there and get outs until they take it from you.’ And so that’s the way I go about thinking each outing.”
Whitlock, 24, described his April 4 MLB debut as a “dream come true,” but his continuing success and the confidence his teammates, coaches and manager Alex Cora already have in him suggest there’s plenty more good things to come from the Rule 5 Draft pick.