Tanner Houck hasn’t been at the ballpark as he recovers from a scary injury, which required facial surgery this past week.

But one Red Sox teammate made sure time hasn’t gone by without seeing Houck.

Garrett Whitlock has aided Houck after he took a liner to the face just two weeks ago against the New York Yankees. A lot of times it’s just Whitlock providing Houck company and playing board games with his fellow pitcher to take his mind off the situation.

Whitlock told The Athletic he was with Houck this past Monday as Houck went in for surgery the next day. Whitlock was even there when Houck went for initial testing at Mass General immediately following the injury.

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“After I picked him up from the hospital to take him home that night, that’s when he told me it was fractured,” Whitlock told The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey.

It certainly has been different for Whitlock showing up to work without Houck there. The two are close friends and have their lockers next to one another in the Red Sox clubhouse.

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“It’s hard when your best friend is not here,” Whitlock told McCaffrey. “It’s kind of hard and you definitely miss him and feel a little lonely.”

Houck, who does not have a timetable for return yet, had two plates inserted into his face as part of a successful surgery for an open reduction and internal fixation of a right orbito-zygomatico-maxillary complex (OZMC) fracture.

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But even having to go through that, and who knows the mental hurdles Houck might face, he is finding ways to stay up upbeat thanks to Whitlock.

“We joked he got a new face for his birthday,” Whitlock said as Houck turned 27 this past Thursday.

Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images