There's finally an update on Garrett Crochet. And it's good news for the White Sox.
Crochet, who dropped jaws with a blazing fastball in some incredibly effective relief work while pitching out of a major league bullpen just months after being drafted, was removed after facing just two hitters in Game 3 of the AL Wild Card Series a week and a half ago. Word from the White Sox that day was that he departed with "left forearm tightness," a scary series of words that have often been the precursor to Tommy John surgery.
But general manager Rick Hahn provided an update Monday that should have White Sox fans breathing easier. Crochet has a flexor strain, but there's nothing wrong with his UCL, the ligament that needs repairing in Tommy John surgery. He's expected to be fine within a few weeks and a full go for spring training in February.
"That, obviously, was a little bit scary for all of us, like any pitcher having discomfort anywhere in his arm," Hahn said. "All things considered, this is probably as good of a result as we could have hoped for."
That's obviously good news for the White Sox, who have quite the weapon on their hands in Crochet, who made five relief appearances out of the bullpen over the final 10 games of the regular season before making that brief postseason appearance on the day the White Sox were eliminated. He dazzled with a fastball that frequently touched 101 miles an hour on the radar gun.
All the more impressive is that he did what he did against major league hitters — he logged six scoreless innings, striking out eight of the 22 batters he faced — after making just one start before his college season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic and turning pro in a year with no minor league games.
As for what's next for Crochet, the White Sox haven't quite decided yet. Hahn said Monday that the team still views him as a starting pitcher in the long term. But it would sure be nice to keep him as part of the relief corps after what he was able to show in a dominating few outings in September.
"What is the best path to getting him to fulfilling that ceiling as a starter? We’ll have to talk that through," Hahn said. "There’s an argument to having him part of a multi-inning reliever next year as we transition to increasing that workload. If there’s a normal minor league season next year, and hopefully there is, maybe you do send him to one of the affiliates and have him work every fifth day and still have him get exposure to the big leagues, perhaps, out of the bullpen at that point to manage his workload coming off the truncated 2020.
"We view him as an impactful starter, but we certainly can’t ignore what he looked like when he was coming out of the bullpen, either."