Garrett Whitlock had no idea such a minor misunderstanding created so much noise on social media.
Whitlock planned to swap jersey numbers heading into his second season with the Red Sox. The right-hander initially wanted to ditch No. 72 in favor of 22 as an ode to former Boston star Rick Porcello, someone who Whitlock long has looked up to.
That was until the Red Sox signed Derek Holland. The left-hander also wanted No. 22, and Whitlock was happy to give way to a 13-year Major League Baseball veteran. The easy, non-dramatic nature of the transaction didn’t stop Holland from catching a series of harsh tweets, though.
Whitlock didn’t know about the social media storm until Holland made him aware of it, and the 25-year-old was mortified upon learning how much attention the situation was getting.
“So, I don’t have Twitter or anything like that, so it was really weird,” Whitlock said during an appearance on Audacy Sports’ “Inside The Monster” podcast. “The next day I’m in the training room and Holland comes up to me and he’s just like, ‘I had no idea 22 meant so much to you.’ I was like, ‘What do you mean?’ He was like, ‘Dude, people were wearing me out on Twitter.’ I felt terrible. I was like, ‘Oh my god. I’m so sorry.’ I kept apologizing to him and everything like that. He was like, ‘Kid, you’re good.’
“I always looked up to Rick Porcello, same way with Holland. He’s a veteran. He’s done the things, he’s done that. So I look up to him in that aspect. I would never want to get in the way of anything he wanted. If he wanted my daggone parking spot, I’d get on a bike and I’d park way away from the stadium and walk in.”
So, Whitlock will continue wearing No. 72 for the Red Sox. It served the budding star pretty well as a rookie, so he surely has no qualms about sporting it again for Year 2.