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Red Sox activate SP Garrett Whitlock off IL, set to start Tuesday vs. Rays

We’ve got the latest updates for Garrett Whitlock as he gets set to make his first start of 2023 for the Boston Red Sox.

Garrett Whitlock of the Boston Red Sox looks on during a Boston Red Sox spring training team workout on February 16, 2023 at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox’ beleaguered rotation is about to get a whole lot of help in the coming days. First up: Garrett Whitlock, whose surgically-repaired hip is finally feeling well enough to be activated off the injured list.

Boston was intentionally taking it slow with Whitlock as he returned from hip surgery this spring, but the plan was always for him to make his return at some point in April. After a dominant rehab outing at Double-A Portland last week in which he struck out eight while surrendering just one hit in six innings, he seemed plenty ready to make his season debut.

The question now becomes: What kind of pitcher can Whitlock be? The 26-year-old — who Boston poached from the Yankees in the Rule 5 Draft back in 2020 — has flashed plenty of potential in his first two Major League seasons, posting a 2.73 ERA with over a strikeout per inning in 151.2 frames of work between 2021 and 2022.

But much of those innings have come in relief, either in the late innings or as a bulk option. The Red Sox are committed to seeing if Whitlock can stick as a starter, and for that to happen, he’ll have to get much better the second time through the batting order — the righty allowed a .299/.333/.567 slash line when facing hitters for the second time last season.

Of course, he was also battling that balky hip in 2022, so who knows what a healthy Whitlock can do with a full-time rotation spot. His strikeout upside certainly makes him a recommended add in 12-team mixed leagues and deeper.