The Boston Red Sox had to place Garrett Whitlock on the 10-day injured last week, and the reliever is eligible for activation Thursday.
But as things stand now, it doesn’t look like he’ll be coming back as soon as their series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.
Whitlock was seen throwing in the field at Camden Yards ahead of the opener Tuesday, but in his pregame media availability, manager Alex Cora pumped the breaks on Whitlock’s return.
“He’s doing better — I think 60 throws if I’m not mistaken, that’s what Brad (Pearson) said,” Cora told reporters of Whitlock. “He felt good. Now we’ll see how he reacts tonight and then tomorrow, and then we’ll see if we take the next step. But a big step for him, obviously, to be able to go out there and play catch.”
Whitlock has been dealing with a pectoral injury, though Cora didn’t initially believe the ailment was very serious.
That still may be the case, but it doesn’t look like the Red Sox are in a rush to bring him back too soon and risk having him for a potential playoff run.
“As of right now, I think (Thursday is) too soon to be honest with you,” Cora admitted. “But you never know how guys will react. But I think, not throwing a bullpen, bring realistic for me, I don’t think Thursday will be the day.”
Hopefully it won’t be much later than that, as Boston will only have one three-game set against the Washington Nationals left in their regular season.
That potentially means the end of their season, too, as Boston remains in playoff contention with the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays also competing closely for an American League Wild Card spot.
It’s a playoff race made much harder without Boston’s most reliable bullpen arm, as Whitlock this season owns a 1.99 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings.