Giolito has UCL surgery, expected to miss '24 season

March 13th, 2024

TAMPA -- Right-hander underwent surgery on Tuesday with an internal brace repair to his right elbow ulnar collateral ligament, the Red Sox announced on Wednesday.

Giolito is expected to miss all of this season, but because the operation included a brace and was not a full Tommy John surgery, the 29-year-old veteran stands a much better chance to return for the start of the 2025 season.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Jeffrey Dugas in Birmingham, Ala.

“He’ll go through the process and hopefully he gets back sooner rather than later, whenever that is. I do believe it was the best-case scenario,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “We don't know how the rehab is going to go, but the hope is for him to be ready whenever he's ready. Seeing what has happened with this [bracing] procedure in the past, he’s going to be able to go out there and throw his changeup and his good fastball and help the Red Sox win some more games.”

Giolito headlined Boston’s offseason acquisitions this winter with a contract that will pay him $18 million this season and includes a $19 million player option for 2025 and a conditional option for ’26.

Given that Giolito won’t pitch this season, there seems a strong likelihood he will exercise his player option for 2025.

Giolito felt discomfort in his elbow during his March 1 start against the Twins. In that outing, he gave up two hits, four runs and three walks in 2 1/3 innings.

Heading into this season, Giolito was hoping to regain his groove after going 8-15 with a 4.88 ERA in 33 starts for three clubs last season.

From 2019-21, Giolito was one of the best pitchers in the American League, earning Cy Young votes in all three of those seasons.

Though there are still marquee pitchers available on the free-agent market in Jordan Montgomery and Blake Snell, the Red Sox at this point appear more inclined to rely on their young core to fill out a rotation that has just one veteran (Nick Pivetta) now that Giolito is out.

Brayan Bello, who signed a six-year contract extension with the Sox last week, is hoping to emerge into the role of staff ace. Aside from Pivetta, Kutter Crawford is the only other pitcher sure to make Boston's regular season rotation.

Four pitchers -- Garrett Whitlock, Tanner Houck, Josh Winckowski and Cooper Criswell -- are vying for the final two spots in Cora’s starting five.