SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Garrett Whitlock’s tenure with the Red Sox has been a mixed bag.

In 2021, the righty burst onto the scene as a dominant weapon in the bullpen, posting a 1.96 ERA in 46 games and recording the final out to eliminate the New York Yankees in the American League wild card.

Over the last two seasons, the transition to the starting rotation in addition to a series of injuries have paused the momentum Whitlock gave Boston in 2021. Particularly in 2023, Whitlock struggled with a 5.15 ERA and appeared in just 22 games. The 27-year-old does not take that regression lightly.

“I’ll be the first one to say I think I was the worst guy on the team last year,” Whitlock told reporters on Saturday during Red Sox Winter Weekend at the MassMutual Center. “I think I need to pick it up a lot.”

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His internal motive to improve his health and production translated into the winter, where Whitlock has visibly gotten stronger and looks forward to applying that growth this season.

“This is the first offseason I’ve been healthy in a while,” Whitlock said. “I took advantage of it. I took one week off at the end of the season and went and got back to work in the gym. Building strength and building the right way.”

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Chief baseball officer Craig Breslow noted earlier this offseason that Whitlock will enter the season stretched out as a starter. Motivated to consistently take the ball and go deep into games, Whitlock aspires to produce in the rotation.

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“Anytime you can’t help the team and are just sitting on the sidelines, it’s very frustrating,” Whitlock shared. “It’s been unfortunate. That’s what I’m working on. Go out and post every day this year.”

When healthy, Whitlock has been an invaluable arm for the Red Sox in his three years in Boston. If the Red Sox are going to be successful in 2024, Whitlock has to be a big reason why.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images