Red Sox’s Garrett Whitlock will have season-ending hip surgery, expected to be ready for spring training

Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock has been shut down for the season and will undergo hip surgery next week, a source confirmed to MassLive on Tuesday.

Whitlock will have an arthroscopic procedure to address a right hip impingement performed by Dr. Bryan Kelly, a renowned orthopedic surgeon. He is expected to be with the Red Sox through their weekend series against the Yankees then remain in New York for the procedure. The Red Sox expect Whitlock to be full-go when spring training starts in February.

Whitlock has dealt with hip troubles all season. He was sidelined for 33 games in the middle of the season with hip inflammation and has walked with a pronounced limp throughout the second half of the year. The Red Sox have tried to manage the issue by carefully managing Whitlock’s workload in the second half but with the team out of contention, clearly thought shutting down the right-hander and moving forward with surgery was the best option.

Whitlock’s hip issue has not stopped him from being one of Boston’s best pitchers in 2022. He ends his season with a 3.45 ERA and 9.4 K/9 rate in 78 ⅓ innings over 31 appearances (9 starts). While those numbers are down compared to Whitlock’s stellar rookie campaign in 2021, the righty was still very effective this season. As a reliever — a role Whitlock had for the first two weeks of the season as well as from July 15 until his last appearance Friday — he pitched to a 2.75 ERA with 44 strikeouts in 39⅓ innings. His nine-start cameo in the rotation from mid-April to mid-June was a little bumpier, as the 26-year-old posted a 4.15 ERA in 39 frames.

The futures of Whitlock and Tanner Houck, once again, represent a major question mark for the Red Sox entering the winter. Both dynamic righties have been effective as both starters and relievers but had their seasons cut short by injuries that led to surgery (Houck had back surgery earlier this month). Boston will have to carefully consider the health impacts of each role when deciding to do with Whitlock and Houck in 2023.

Whitlock is under club control through 2028 due to the extension he signed with the Red Sox shortly at the beginning of the season. He is due to earn $1 million in 2023 (the first year of his four-year, $18.75 million extension that includes club options for 2027 and 2028) and can raise the value of the deal via escalators if he accumulates a significant number of innings as a starter.

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Whitlock’s roster spot will likely be taken by righty Connor Seabold, who is with the team and expected to be called up to start Wednesday’s game against the Reds. Red Sox manager Alex Cora first broke news of Whitlock’s surgery to reporters, including Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe, in Cincinnati on Tuesday afternoon.