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Chicago White Sox reliever Garrett Crochet likely needs season-ending Tommy John surgery

Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
 2022-04-01
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White Sox pitcher Craig Kimbrel hangs out with players while watching teammates work out during spring training on March 17, 2022, at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS

The Chicago White Sox are looking at a 2022 season without one of their best young bullpen arms.

Reliever Garrett Crochet is likely facing Tommy John surgery after suffering an injury in Thursday’s Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds, general manager Rick Hahn said.

“The preliminary MRI reading is not great,” Hahn said Friday. “There appears to be some damage to the ligament, which very likely will require Tommy John surgery.

“That said, this is again preliminary and he is going to seek out a second opinion here in the coming days. But being above board with everything along these lines, the prognosis at this time is not great.”

The left-hander began the eighth inning at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz., with a strikeout. He went to a 3-1 count on the next batter before being looked at by the training staff and exiting the game.

Said Hahn: “It sounds like the pitch before he felt a little something, but it sort of went away, and then he threw the next pitch and felt a sharp pain again and wisely shut it down at that point.”

Hahn said with a “glass half-full” approach Crochet should return in time for next season if the pitcher undergoes the surgery.

“Using the very generic approximate 11-to-13-month recovery for a reliever, we should have him back for the 2023 season, if that is the case,” Hahn said.

Crochet and Aaron Bummer are the top two left-handers in the team’s bullpen. Crochet was the No. 11 pick in the 2020 draft and made an impact after joining the big-league club down the stretch that season.

Crochet had a 2.82 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 54 relief appearances last season. He impressed this spring , allowing one earned run with eight strikeouts in 4⅓ innings.

“There’s not many left-handers like Garrett,” manager Tony La Russa said. “You get into that explanation that you’ve got to be very careful with: You’re not going to be able to replace Crochet, but if you say that literally, that means we’re not as good and we can’t afford not to be as good, so somebody else has to step up.”

Hahn anticipates the Sox will have at least one more lefty reliever join Bummer in the bullpen on opening day. Bennett Sousa and Anderson Severino are possible options.

“It’s more about the ability to get lefties and righties out than necessarily match up left-on-left,” Hahn said of the bullpen. “We feel pretty good about the depth of the options we have.”

Lucas Giolito and the Sox avoid arbitration

The Sox and Giolito avoided arbitration , agreeing to a one-year, $7.45 million deal Friday.

Giolito, 26, went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 31 starts in 2021. He received votes for the American League Cy Young Award in each of the last three seasons.

“Had good, honest conversations face-to-face with Lucas,” Hahn said. “(Assistant general manager) Jeremy Haber as well did. And frankly and perhaps most interestingly, so did (Chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf. He and Lucas met one-on-one, had a nice conversation about how negotiations sometimes get a little bogged down and tried to search for solutions out of it.

“Obviously we’re happy we were able to and have everyone’s focus properly on the season ahead and not worried about preparing for some sort of in-season hearing.”

Giolito said the conversation with Reinsdorf was “really good.”

“A ton of mutual respect there,” Giolito said. “I saw their side, they saw my side, and when it was all said and done we were able to get this thing done and focus on what we’re trying to do as a team.”

Giolito also wanted to acknowledge Hahn and Haber.

“This process can get ugly, at times, but they worked their (butts) off to work with me and communicate with me and try to make it as seamless as possible,” Giolito said. “And then going and talking with Jerry, the same deal. There’s a lot of love there.”

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