The White Sox put relief pitcher Garrett Crochet on the injured list Thursday, the fireballing youngster landing on the shelf with an upper back strain.
According to manager Tony La Russa, Crochet started feeling out of sorts, at times, during spring training, adding that his trip to the IL is more of a precaution so the injury doesn't get worse.
"There were times during spring training when he didn't feel like his delivery was all together," La Russa said. "I think it's something that maybe progressed with time.
"But more than anything else, it's a safety precaution to back off now. I feel confident 10 days from now, knock on wood, it'll solve it. I think a lot of it's from getting his delivery together where it's nice and smooth."
Crochet's placement is retroactive to April 26, so the first day he'd be eligible to come off the injured list is Wednesday, when the White Sox wrap a brief two-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Though he's had some high profile moments of struggle, Crochet has only yielded one earned run this season.
Still, he's perplexed fans by not looking like the same flamethrower he was when he made his rapid ascent to the major leagues at the end of last season, blowing batters away with 101 mile an hour fastballs. Those eye-popping radar-gun readings haven't been there this season.
But according to both La Russa and Crochet, who spoke to reporters Wednesday, before news of his injury hit, that decrease in his dazzling velocity is not something that's creating concern, a product of Crochet's evolution as a pitcher, more than anything.
"With adjusting to big league hitters, before I was throwing it as hard as I could in a general direction. And then I felt like I needed to hone in and just be more of a pitcher than a thrower," Crochet said. "That’s the main thing. I do feel a lot more like a pitcher right now. I feel very good about what I’m doing out there.
"If 100 comes back, it comes back. I’m just trying to make it through 162 games with this being my first full season. ... As long as the arm’s feeling good, then I’m OK with whatever the velo board says."
La Russa said Thursday that it's possible Crochet's bothersome back could have something to do with the decrease in velocity but repeated that it's more likely a result of Crochet focusing on perfecting his command.
Crochet said Wednesday that it has been a physical challenge getting used to pitching in a full season and pitching in the nasty weather conditions that have plagued the White Sox schedule in April. Crochet made the leap from pitching in the SEC to the major leagues at the end of last summer, and this is his first taste of a full professional season, something he's cognizant of.
"It’s been an adjustment," Crochet said. "First full spring training and then coming up here and throwing in the Chicago weather every day, it’s a little bit different than I expected.
"It’s more of a marathon, not a sprint, as opposed to the college season, (which is) about half as long. Once you get going, you’ve kind of got to be in the heat of things pretty quick, and right now, I’m just realizing that we’re at the beginning of a pretty long journey."
With La Russa laying out that Thursday's move was more of a precaution than anything, obviously the White Sox are keeping that in mind, too, so Crochet can be available at full strength in the biggest moments of the season come September and October.