Red Sox starter Lucas Giolito may miss 2024 season after tests show damaged elbow: reports

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The Boston Red Sox got bad injury news with one of their free agent acquisitions on Tuesday. 

Veteran starter Lucas Giolito had imaging done on his elbow, and initial tests show he has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and a flexor strain that could require surgery, per ESPN. 

If surgery is the call for Giolito, the Red Sox’s expected Opening Day starter, he could sit out the entire 2024 season. 


Lucas Giolito vs Twins

Lucas Giolito of the Boston Red Sox delivers during a Spring Training Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins on Feb. 23, 2024, at jetBlue Park at Fenway South in Fort Myers, Florida. (Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Giolito signed a two-year pact with the Red Sox worth $38.5 million, which made up for most of Boston’s conservative approach in free agency despite saying otherwise at the onset. 

The Sox also signed reliever Liam Hendriks, who is expected to miss most of the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. There’s a chance he misses the entire season as well. Boston also brought in right-hander Cooper Criswell, while trading for outfielder Tyler O’Neil. 


After trading Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves, the Sox knew they needed another veteran starter that could be at the top of their rotation. Giolito was the man to replace him, and after putting together at least 160 innings in the past three seasons, it was a good signing. 

However, Red Sox fans wanted to see more out of the organization, especially in the pitching department with the likes of Blake Snell and Jordan Montgomery still on the free agent market. 

Could Boston be more aggressive for a starter now that Giolito should be missing substantial time?

Lucas Giolito plays catch

Lucas Giolito of the Boston Red Sox during a team workout on Feb. 29, 2024, in Fort Myers. (Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

If surgery is chosen, it isn’t the first time Giolito had to undergo Tommy John. He did so in 2012, two months after the Washington Nationals took him out of Harvard-Westlake High School in Los Angeles 16th overall. 

As of now, reports say the tests are unclear about what the next step is, and more importantly, what type of surgery Giolito needs. The internal brace procedure has been the better of the two surgeries in recent years, as it provides the athlete a shorter recovery. 

But a UCL tear, slight or not, paired with flexor strains make Giolito’s situation grim for 2024.

As of now, the Red Sox’s rotation looks like this: Brayan Bello, Nick Pivetta, Kutter Crawford, Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Houck. 

Other than Snell and Montgomery, the likes of Mike Clevinger, Michael Lorenzen, Zack Greinke and others are on the free agent market. 

Last season, Giolito pitched to a 4.88 ERA over 33 starts between three teams, most of which came with the Chicago White Sox. He also started six games for the Los Angeles Angels and six for the Cleveland Guardians, where he struggled mightily. 

Lucas Giolito pitches

Lucas Giolito of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Minnesota Twins on Feb. 23, 2024, in Fort Myers. (Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)


Over his eight MLB seasons, Giolito has a 4.43 ERA in 1,013.2 innings.

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