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White Sox closely monitoring Crochet’s workload during his strong start to the season

 The Associated Press  |    Jun 7th, 2024 7:50pm EDT

CHICAGO (AP) — Garrett Crochet has been a pleasant surprise for the Chicago White Sox during a brutal start to the season.

So pleasant that his increasing workload could become an issue.

Before taking the mound Friday night against Boston, Crochet had already set career highs with 13 starts and 69 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-6 left-hander, who turns 25 on June 21, also has been the best pitcher for the majors’ worst team.

“We’re at a point now where he’s reaching numbers that really nobody knows,” manager Pedro Grifol said. “The only thing we can go on is our communication with him, our sports performance people, the way his body is reacting, the testing that he’s doing in the weight room.

“Right now, we’re OK. There’s going to be a time where we’re going to probably have to slow it down a little bit. That time is not right now.”

The White Sox had lost 14 in a row going into the matchup with the Red Sox, a single-season franchise record and the majors’ longest streak since the Angels also dropped 14 straight in 2022. At 15-48, they were off to the worst 63-game start in franchise history.

But Crochet has been terrific, going 4-1 with a 1.03 ERA over his previous six starts. Crochet’s 93 strikeouts are the most by a White Sox pitcher for his first 13 career starts.

The lefty hurt himself in the third inning against the Red Sox, committing a throwing error on Jarren Duran’s comebacker that allowed Bobby Dalbec to score from first. After a mound visit from Grifol, the White Sox tried to throw over to first for an appeal, but the ball got away from Andrew Vaughn and Duran stole home for a 2-1 lead.

Crochet, who made his first big league start on opening day, had Tommy John surgery on April 5, 2022. He returned to the majors when he pitched a scoreless inning on May 18, 2023, and he also had a stint on the injured list last year with left shoulder inflammation.

Crochet, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft, logged 12 2/3 innings in 13 major league appearances last season and 54 1/3 innings in 54 games with the White Sox in 2021.

“We try to come here and win a major league game. But at the same time, we’re in uncharted waters here with him,” Grifol said. “And compromising a major league game and compromising Garrett’s health is something we have to really, really balance and really be smart about.

“Everything we do with him is going to be calculated based on rest, recovery and what kind of benefits it can have for him long term.”

The White Sox likely will listen to offers for Crochet ahead of the July 30 trade deadline, but his workload adds another element to any potential deal. If he stays in Chicago, he could get some extra rest or make abbreviated starts as a way to hold down his innings total.

“It will all be precautionary. Because he might not wane at all,” Grifol said. “This guy’s 6-6, 200-whatever pounds. He might be able to go 185 innings this year. Who’s to say he can’t?”

Chicago did make one move with its rotation on Friday, designating Jake Woodford for assignment. The right-hander went 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in two starts with the White Sox.

Jonathan Cannon was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte. The 23-year-old right-hander was available out of the bullpen against the Red Sox, but Grifol made it sound as if he could go into the rotation at some point.

Cannon made his major league debut on April 17 and made three starts with Chicago before he was sent back down to the minors.

“I think the biggest thing for me working on was really attacking lefties,” he said. “Just kind of coming up with a better game plan and executing that game plan. That was sort of my biggest struggle up here was getting those lefties out.”


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The Associated Press