Chicago White Sox reliever Garrett Crochet is looking to end what he called a “long” and “grueling” process on a good note.
The left-hander, currently on the injured list as he makes his way back from left shoulder inflammation, is with the club during their final road trip of the season.
Depending on how an upcoming bullpen session goes, there’s a chance he’ll be reinstated and back on a big-league mound soon.
“(I’m) glad to get out here at the end of the year healthy and hoping to finish strong,” Crochet said Monday at Nationals Park.
Manager Pedro Grifol said a bullpen session is likely Wednesday.
“We’ll see what happens,” Grifol said Tuesday. “What his role will be (in a return), we’ll give him an inning and we’ll let him recover. Whatever he needs and (then) give us another one.”
Monday, Grifol listed several benefits to Crochet coming back as the season nears an end.
“Just get back out there, finish the season healthy and go into the offseason healthy,” Grifol said. “That’s really important. He’s a big part of the future here. He’s in our plans big time for next year.”
Crochet said a return would be “good for morale.” He said he’d also like to have a “normal” offseason.
“It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those,” Crochet said.
Crochet missed all of 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He exited a March 31, 2022, Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds in Goodyear, Ariz., with the elbow injury and had surgery five days later.
After concluding his rehab earlier this season, the Sox activated Crochet on May 16 and he made his season debut two days later with a scoreless inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field.
One of his top outings came June 13 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, when he allowed two hits and struck out three in two scoreless innings at Dodger Stadium.
In the aftermath of a June 15 outing against the Dodgers, Crochet at the time said he experienced “just regular, everyday soreness.” But he wasn’t bouncing back from the soreness and went on the IL on June 17.
He has a 3.60 ERA and nine strikeouts in his 10 appearances.
“It’s kind of been a wash of a year for me personally,” Crochet said. “I wish I could have been on the field more, but regardless to overcome (Tommy John surgery), get back, overcame the shoulder, and get back, I’m just trying to be resilient and keep doing my job.”
After a brief pause in the rehab assignment because of what Crochet said at the time was a “little muscle strain in my shoulder,” he spent some more time with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. He struck out the side Sunday with Charlotte against Nashville.
Noting the performance against Sounds, Grifol said the reports from the minors were positive.
“The pitch shapes have been good,” Crochet said. “Not really much fine tuning I’ve needed to do since going on my rehab assignment, just rocking and rolling.”
What roles might be ahead throughout 2024 for the team’s 2020 first-round draft pick remains to be seen. All 69 of his major-league appearances have been as a reliever. But Grifol has fielded questions from time to time regarding the possibility of Crochet starting.
“He’s in the plans somewhere,” Grifol said. “He’s too talented not to be. We haven’t discussed that yet. That will be probably on the agenda as soon as the season’s over.”
Crochet has pitched 10 innings this season. That necessarily wouldn’t rule out getting some work as a starter at some point.
“You can always monitor the workload next year if that’s the case,” Grifol said.
That’s a discussion for down the line. The focus now for the pitcher is potentially gaining some momentum heading into the offseason.
“It’s exciting, the confidence was building right before I got hurt, to get a chance to do it again (and) keep stacking days.”