By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — Alex Cora met with the media Friday morning in Fort Myers and announced the kind of news that managers love to deliver: Garrett Whitlock has made the Red Sox’ Opening Day roster.

Whitlock, 24, was selected by the Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft in December. He hadn’t pitched since 2019 at Double-A, where he had a 3-3 record, 4.35 ERA and 1.294 WHIP in 14 starts for the Trenton Thunder in the Yankees organization. He missed the 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and his selection in the Rule 5 draft didn’t exactly generate too many headlines.

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But Whitlock’s spent this entire spring turning heads.

He’s pitched in four games, allowing just one run in his nine innings of work. He’s struck out 12 batters while issuing zero walks, good for a 0.889 WHIP.

Cora said that Whitlock’s performance this spring essentially made it a no-brainer to inform the right-hander that he’ll be heading to Boston for Opening Day next week.

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“Yesterday we informed Garrett Whitlock that he made the team. Which is something, obviously with everything he’s done throughout camp, not only on the field but the way he acts, the way he conducts himself, that adds to the equation. So we were very pleased to tell him yesterday,” Cora announced.

Whitlock’s been on quite the journey in his baseball life. He was drafted by the Yankees in the 18th round of 2017 draft out of Alabama-Birmingham. He pitched four scoreless innings in the Cape League for the Chatham Anglers in 2016, before posting a 3-6 record and 4.03 ERA in his final season in college. Across Single-A, High-A and Double-A in 2018, he posted a 1.86 ERA in 21 starts. He took a step back in 2019 at Double-A before requiring Tommy John surgery, and he was left off the Yankees’ 40-man roster last year, thus making him eligible for the Rule 5 draft. Since Chaim Bloom selected him, he’s done nothing but impress everyone at Red Sox camp, resulting in the spot on the roster.

Cora said the team will take efforts to not overuse Whitlock once the season begins.

“We’re going to be careful with him, obviously. He’s a Rule 5 pick and he hasn’t pitched in a while, but everything we’ve seen, it’s been good,” Cora said. “So he’ll be with us.”

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Whitlock figures to bolster the Boston bullpen as a middle reliever. He’s pitched two innings in three of his four outings, most recently stretching out to three innings over the weekend. Over his last two outings, he’s allowed just three base runners in five innings, while striking out seven of the 18 batters he faced.

CBSBoston.com Staff