Garrett Crochet is 'thrilled to have a ball in my hand' as Chicago White Sox reliever Tommy John's rehab progresses

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Chicago White Sox drafted Garrett Crochet in June 2020 and the 11th pick he found himself throwing big pitches in the big leagues that September.

The lefty didn’t allow a run in five 2020 appearances over six innings. He continued to be one of the most reliable members of the bullpen last year.

Crochet, 23, was set for a larger role in 2022 and looked good in spring training before sustaining an injury that required season-ending Tommy John surgery.

He provided an update over the weekend while with the Sox for their series against the Texas Rangers.

“Things are going well,” Crochet said Friday at Globe Life Field. “(I have) been training in (Arizona). I take care of my affairs in the same way that I have the entire rehab process. Just taking one step at a time.

“(I’m) playing catch at the end of the month. I really hope so. But in the meantime, working on shoulder strength and arm stability.

“Everything is progressing as expected, so I’m excited to have a ball in my hand.”

Crochet has a 2.54 ERA in 59 career relief appearances, striking out 73 in 60⅓ innings.

He started the eighth inning of a Cactus League game on March 31 against the Cincinnati Reds with a strikeout. He went to a 3-1 count on the next batter before the training staff looked at him and he walked out of the game.

The next day, Sox general manager Rick Hahn said “the preliminary MRI reading is not good”, and Crochet underwent surgery in early April.

“It feels good,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said Thursday. “Just a reminder of what lies ahead for this organization and our fans. You’ll be better than ever when you get back. And that’s saying something.”

Injuries have forced the Red Sox to make bullpen changes this season. Crochet and Aaron Bummer were singled out as the best options for lefties. Bummer has been limited to 20 starts due to injuries. He was on the DL from May 7-22 with a right knee strain and returned to the DL retroactive to June 9 with a left wing strain. He last pitched on June 7.

jakediekman, acquired in a trade last week from the Boston Red Sox, is the only lefty in the bullpen after the Sox sent Tanner Banks to Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday. Diekman allowed one run and struck out five in his first three appearances with the White Sox.

Although he couldn’t be on the mound, Crochet tried to help the team in other ways.

“Joining the team again this time of year, the energy is high and I love being in this environment in any way I can to add positive energy,” he said.

He has been able to lean on teammates who were previously sidelined.

“Seeing my teammates have been through it before, I know the path I have to take,” Crochet said. “It’s up to me to follow him at this point.

“I am present in the moment and being there for my teammates. I feel like that’s the main thing I want to get out of this. I’ll have time to focus on pitching when I’m pitching. I’m just trying to be really selfless.”

Crochet worked to smooth out his mechanics before the injury. He anticipates continuing that process when he gets clearance.

“I broke it down quite a bit last offseason,” Crochet said. “I hope to resume all the work that I was working on and pick up right where I left off.”

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