GLENDALE, Ariz. — Garrett Crochet, the second half of the White Sox’ high-octane, left-handed bullpen tandem with Aaron Bummer, was lights out in his first three appearances this spring.
Attempting to go more than one inning Monday against the Padres, not so much.
After the 6-6, second-year, former first-round draft choice allowed two hits and no walks while striking out five batters in three one-inning appearances, Crochet gave up five runs (four earned) on two walks and four hits, including a homer to catcher Jorge Alfaro.
His stuff was still good: Crochet did record four strikeouts. So it goes in spring training, when no one remembers your numbers by mid-April.
“As a pitcher, you’re usually working on stuff,” veteran Dallas Keuchel said.
“I’ve been feeling really smooth mechanically, and I feel confident throwing all my pitches regardless of count,” Crochet said before the outing Monday. “Those were my goals leading into the season, and so far it’s working out.”
Crochet said his best pitch is a tossup between his fastball and slider.
“But I feel equally comfortable with my changeup — that has come such a long way since I was drafted [11th overall in 2020], and that could easily overtake them eventually,” he said.
Coming off his first full season in which he appeared in 54 games, posting a 2.82 ERA with 65 strikeouts and a 1.270 WHIP over 54⅓ innings, Crochet “definitely gained some comfortability in this environment,” he said.
“And the knowledge and experience of what it takes to make it through the season. It’s no longer the unknown where I’m tiptoeing around the clubhouse. Now I know how to carry myself and what needs to be done. I look forward to helping this team win baseball games this year.”
Infielder Jake Burger, who exited Sunday’s game with left ankle soreness, was back on the field Monday taking ground balls. Burger, the former first-round draft choice who ruptured his left Achilles in spring training four years ago, said it’s related to scar tissue in the area and not uncommon for him to get sore.
“My foot is a little more rigid, the Achilles is a little more rigid,” Burger said. “I’ve dealt with it like six, seven times last year and it wasn’t anything that takes me out for a week or even a game.”
Mercedes has surgery
Yermin Mercedes had surgery Monday in Phoenix to repair a broken hamate bone. He will be out six to eight weeks. Mercedes, a catcher by trade who was playing left field this spring, was not expected to make the Opening Day roster. Mercedes was the American League Rookie of the Month last April.