BOSTON — The Red Sox are putting the stop sign in front of starting pitcher Garrett Whitlock.

Whitlock is headed to the 15-day injured list with what manager Alex Cora called a “slight” left oblique strain. Whitlock exited early from Tuesday’s loss to the Cleveland Guardians after throwing just 54 pitches in four innings.

“The hope is for him to be back as soon as possible,” Cora said prior to Wednesday’s matchup at Fenway Park. “We just got to be smart.”

Cora credited Red Sox head athletic trainer Brandon Henry for noticing Whitlock’s oblique injury during the middle of his outing against the Guardians, in which he allowed two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out one.

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And Cora continued to listen to Henry when it came to putting Whitlock on the IL.

“I think we did a good job yesterday, Brandon did,” Cora said. “He recognized it. And Brandon was very aggressive with me like, ‘We got to take him out. We have to.’ Today, he was on point with what he thought it was and he recommended this.”

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Whitlock is very familiar with visits to the IL during his four seasons with the Red Sox, including having three separate stints there last year. To avoid going on the IL again, Whitlock wanted to push through this injury but the Red Sox wouldn’t let him.

“This one (is) not difficult,” Cora said. “Actually, he kind of fight it because of that. I was like, ‘You don’t have to prove to people you can stay healthy because it’s on us.’ We’re actually taking it away from his hands. It’s early enough that it doesn’t make sense to push him then something worse might happen.”

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Cora believes Whitlock’s stay on the IL won’t be long, which is obviously good news for the Red Sox and their starting staff. Whitlock is off to a strong start this season, posting a 1-0 record with a 1.96 ERA and 1.145 WHIP in 18 1/3 innings.

“We’ll take care of him the next, hopefully, 15 days, and he’ll be ready,” Cora said.

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