Garrett Crochet could fill White Sox’ need for left-handed starter

Crochet’s two-inning performance Tuesday “was the best I’ve seen for us,” manager Pedro Grifol said.

SHARE Garrett Crochet could fill White Sox’ need for left-handed starter
Garrett Crochet works out before the White Sox’ game against the Guardians last month.

Garrett Crochet works out before the White Sox’ game against the Guardians last month.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

LOS ANGELES — Garrett Crochet is more than just some left-hander in the White Sox bullpen. He’s a valued component of whatever their future plans shape up as, a former first-round draft choice who figures to be part of their starting rotation, perhaps as soon as next season.

The Sox started a right-hander — Mike Clevinger — who is probably pitching his final season on the South Side, on Wednesday night. It marked the 187th game in a row that the Sox started a righty.

So they need a lefty starter in the rotation, which Crochet was projected as when he was picked 11th overall in the 2020 draft.

“Yeah, yeah, that’s definitely in the back of my mind,” Crochet told the Sun-Times. “I hope so.”

Tommy John surgery sidetracked the 6-6, 230-pounder’s progression. It’s behind him now, and nine appearances into his comeback, there are hurdles to climb.

But he seems to be coming along.

“Crochet came in and did a really good job, the best I’ve seen him,” manager Pedro Grifol said of Crochet, who made his third consecutive scoreless appearance in the Sox’ 5-1 loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday. “He’s coming along, that’s nice to see. That’s a big arm for us.”

Crochet owns a 3.60 ERA, whittled down by three recent scoreless appearances with five strikeouts and no walks in 3‰ innings, including a two-inning stint Tuesday.

“There will be inconsistencies at first but the velocity is 97, 98 so he’s trending and coming along very well,” bullpen coach Curt Hasler said.

“Sometimes when you’re coming back from Tommy John, it’s just the feel of things, getting things synced up in your delivery, number one. So you have to get that back, because you haven’t done it in so long.”

“Now I’m kind of building on something good,” Crochet said. “Results aside, watching my pitches, I feel like my command is starting to trickle back in and I’m throwing my slider a little bit harder. Feel like it was just a matter of getting my feet wet, but now it’s full go.”

Crochet was so eager to contribute early on that he “kind of put my foot in my mouth there saying, ‘Use me, me use me,’ and then I walked the house,” he said, noting a four-walk outing in Detroit on May 25, his fourth time out.

“But now I’m in a position where I can say it, mean it and produce.”

The slider, coupled with his upper 90s mph fastball, is key. When Crochet threw in bullpens building up toward a return, he said he was throwing for the purpose of scoring well on the metrics.

“With no batter in the box there wasn’t anyone to judge swings with,” he said. “I mean, it was big, almost like a sweeper.”

Crochet’s good slider looked like a fastball that broke sharply at the last moment. But he’s getting back to that now.

“The slider continues to come as he gets the feel for what he wants to do,” Hasler said. “It’s kind of like riding a bike, but you have to get it going.”

“I was talking to Joe Kelly about how he throws his breaking pitches so hard, so I tweaked the grip, just having more of a fastball mentality with it,” Crochet said.

As for starting, Crochet is letting the chips fall where they may. They figure to fall there for him, eventually.

“It’s really out of my control but going through my rehab assignment, checking off multiple innings, if called upon I could be a long guy this year if need be,” he said. “But I’ve got to pitch my way back into that role, you know? So really right now I’m just finding innings whenever I’m called.”

The Latest
The shooting happened about 2:40 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 94 near 73rd Street, according to Illinois State Police.
In honor of the 20th anniversary of the park’s opening, Common and the Grant Park Orchestra transformed the packed Jay Pritzker Pavilion into a joyful party honoring hip-hop and the Windy City.
With new album ‘The Legend of ABM,’ Chicago hip-hop duo attempts to rebrand to be bigger and better.
A 32-year-old man suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was taken to the University of Chicago Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, Chicago police said.