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Red Sox notebook: Whitlock impresses on first day of spring training


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Boston’s Raynel Espinal rubs a ball during practice on Monday in Fort Myers, Fla. Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

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Garrett Whitlock joined Martin Perez in throwing live batting practice on Monday, the first day of training camp in Fort Myers, Florida.

The right-hander, selected from the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft last offseason, will need to remain on Boston’s active 26-man roster or the injured list through the final day of the 2021 season for the Red Sox to formally retain his rights.

“He was good,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said. “For his first outing out there, it doesn’t matter if there are 45,000 people or a few coaches and a few players.”

Whitlock suffered a right elbow injury in July 2019 and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery. The 24-year-old reached Double-A Trenton prior to his injury and was left off New York’s 40-man roster following an inactive 2020. Whitlock has started in all but four of his 42 professional outings, pitching to a 2.41 ERA.

“Today he threw a good slider and a good changeup to Bobby (Dalbec) to strike him out,” Cora said. “He has a good fastball – good feel.”

XANDER BOGAERTS took notice when the Padres extended 22-year-old shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to a 14-year, $340-million contract last week.

“Great,” Bogaerts said. “Obviously he got a boatload of money, as you would say. It’s good for him, good for his family. He’s definitely one of the most talented players in the game as of right now.”

Bogaerts could hit the market after the 2022 season. His agent, Scott Boras, added the opt-out to the extension he signed in ’19.

“I haven’t even been thinking of that yet,” Bogaerts said. “It’s so far down the road. But obviously it’s a lot of money, you know, and much deserved. Some would say (Tatis) deserved even more. But when that time comes, we’ll go over that and see how that works.”

BOGAERTS ALSO HAD some advice for the young guys on how to handle the COVID-19 protocols.

“Just be professional,” he said. “Don’t always think about yourself. Think about your neighbor. Sometimes we think we’re invincible or nothing can touch us because we’re young… Just try to think about others before you do something, I would say, stupid.”

THIS RED SOX team is tall, and it has caught Cora’s attention.

“You look at Tanner Houck, you look at Garrett Whitlock, and you look at Bobby Dalbec and even Hunter Renfroe, we’re big and physical,” said Cora, who was generously listed at 6 feet, 200 pounds in his final season as a player. “We’re a lot bigger than 2019, I’ll tell you that. And that’s exciting. We got a bunch of athletes. They play the part. It’s not the small Red Sox from ’18-19, but that small team in ’18 did some great things. I don’t think size is going to decide who’s gonna win or lose, but at least athletic-wise, we’re in a great place.”


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Updated: February 23, 2021 — 9:11 pm

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