Garrett Whitlock is headed back to the bullpen; Brayan Bello might be in the mix

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CHICAGO - The Red Sox are shaking things up a bit.

Speaking to the media prior to Saturday night's game at Wrigley Field, Sox manager Alex Cora explained how the team will likely use Garrett Whitlock when he returns from his hip injury.

For the rest of the 2022 season, Whitlock will be a reliever.

"We’ll talk about his role, it’s pretty much likely he’ll be in the bullpen," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "We were talking about taking care of him and all that but it will be what we did last year, multiple-inning guy. And that’s going to, rehab-wise, I don’t want to say it’s easier but it’s a different one. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow and we’ll make a decision after that."

Cora added regarding Whitlock's role, "It’s pretty similar to last year. Obviously, Tanner is doing what he’s doing. Schreib (John Schreiber) is doing the same thing. There’s going to be days that they’re going to be down and he might come in and go eight and nine and finish it. Then he’ll get his two days and it gives everybody a blow in the bullpen. He’s still a good pitcher regardless of it’s the first inning or the ninth inning but using him as a multi-inning weapon makes sense for where we at and with the guys we have right now."

While Whitlock is slated to live life as a relief pitcher for the remainder of this year, sources say that the Red Sox still are eyeing for him to become a starter for the 2023 campaign.

Whitlock last pitched June 7, having made nine starts before succumbing to a hip injury. During his time as a starter the righty totaled a 4.15 ERA with the team going 5-4 during his appearances despite dealing with the ailment for much of the time.

The move is made possible by the addition of Chris Sale to the starting staff, with the lefty most likely making his last minor-league rehab assignment appearance Wednesday before returning to the Red Sox.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they will still need to dip into their starting depth due to the knee injury suffered by Rich Hill. The lefty is waiting results from the MRI taken Saturday morning, reporting that the knee is still sore.

Nathan Eovaldi remains sidelined with a back injury, having thrown a 35-pitch bullpen session Saturday.

For the time being, Josh Winckowski and Connor Seabold will remain in the starting rotation, with more potential help on the way. When Cora was asked specifically about the possibility of promoting top prospect Brayan Bello the manager said, "There’s a lot of guys in the mix for a lot of stuff here, now. All of a sudden, there’s a lot of stuff health-wise that is going on. We’ve been talking about those guys the whole season. Let’s see what happens in the upcoming days."

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