John Tomase

Red Sox get good news on Lucas Giolito following elbow surgery

Giolito could contribute for most or all of the 2025 MLB season.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The Red Sox got about the best news they could've hoped for following Lucas Giolito's season-ending elbow surgery on Monday, announcing that he did not require a full Tommy John ligament replacement.

He instead underwent the same internal bracing procedure that allowed shortstop Trevor Story to return last season in about eight months, meaning there's a chance Giolito contributes for most or all of 2025.

The surgery was performed in Alabama by Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, who has pioneered the internal brace as an alternative to Tommy John. Rather than replacing a partially torn ligament with a tendon that must be drilled into two bones, doctors can now effectively apply tape to the damaged ligament and let it heal, knocking as much as a full year off the typical 18-month recovery process.

That won't help Giolito this year, but it at least creates the possibility of a productive 2025. Giolito signed a two-year, $38.5 million contract this winter in part because he had been so durable since undergoing Tommy John shortly after being drafted in 2012, but the 29-year-old felt discomfort after a March 1 start against the Twins, and preliminary exams suggested his season could be over.

The Red Sox said they wouldn't know the severity of the injury until surgery, and now they have their answer.

In Giolito's absence, they haven't seriously engaged with top-tier remaining free agents like World Series champion left-hander Jordan Montgomery or reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.

Instead, they've suggested they're OK filling Giolito's spot with one of their internal options. Recently extended right-hander Brayan Bello, veteran Nick Pivetta, and promising right-hander Kutter Crawford have three spots locked up, leaving the final two starting roles between right-handers Tanner Houck, Garrett Whitlock, and Josh Winckowski, with offseason acquisition Cooper Criswell a darkhorse.

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