Red Sox Pitcher Lucas Giolito Feels Capable Of Returning ‘Sooner’

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Lucas Giolito didn’t get to debut with the Red Sox before the 29-year-old’s Boston stint took an unexpected turn for the worst in spring training.

Giolito, who signed a two-year, $38.5 million deal in free agency with the Red Sox, suffered an injury to his right elbow ulnar collateral ligament requiring season-ending surgery. That shut Giolito’s door before it opened, creating an obvious setback for Boston’s pitching rotation — one of the team’s primary weaknesses in 2023. It was the perfect disaster considering health was Giolito’s greatest strength upon joining the Red Sox — he logged over 27 starts on average through the last six seasons.

Yet, despite having undergone a nightmare start to his ninth big league season, Giolito isn’t tapping out just yet.

“I’m following the protocol, but at the same time, trying to push the envelope as much as I can because I’d love to come back sooner rather than what’s projected,” Gilito explained on “The Chris Rose Rotation” podcast. “But it’s a lot of people’s decision, not just mine. That’s pretty much my life right now.”

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Gilito further elaborated when asked by Rose whether or not the 2019 All-Star felt his recovery was trending well enough for a 2024 return.

“Absolutely,” Giolito responded. “With how good I feel right now. I’ve had Tommy John (surgery) when I was like 19 (years old) and I remember when you first come back throwing there’s times where it doesn’t feel so good, times it does feel better. … I’ve been through this so there’s nothing that’s going to scare me.”

When signed, Gilito was booked to be the veteran leader in the rotation. However, in response to Giolito’s absence, the Red Sox have been stellar in the pitching department, recording an MLB-best 2.52 ERA in 23 games thus far. Right-hander Kutter Crawford has recorded the lowest ERA (0.66) in all of baseball while holding a 1-0 record through five starts.

Giolito admitted that the injury prompted a roller coaster of emotions.

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“It was initially very brutal, it was a lot of different emotions,” Giolito said. “I felt almost guilty. I came here to do this, I’ve always been healthy for most of my big league career. I’ve never had a significant injury. Then boom.”

Boston’s done its part in holding the fort down, giving Giolito all the time needed to recover appropriately based on what the medical evaluations have called for.

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