WASHINGTON — Garrett Crochet rejoined the White Sox for their last trip of the season, expecting to get some game action under his belt before heading into the offseason.
Crochet, the Sox’ 2020 first-round draft choice who came back from Tommy John surgery this season only to be sidelined again by a shoulder injury, hasn’t had a normal offseason in a while.
He will go into this one knowing the Sox aren’t ruling out the possibility of using him as a starter in 2024.
“He’s in the plans somewhere; he’s too talented not to be,” manager Pedro Grifol said Monday before the Sox beat the Nationals 6-1 in the first of three games at Nationals Park. “We haven’t discussed that yet. That will be on the agenda as soon as the season’s over.”
Crochet has appeared in a total of 69 games in 2020, 2021 and 2023, all in relief. Since 2021, he pitched 10 major-league innings — this season — and made six relief appearances each at Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. But that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be considered to start for the Sox, who had no lefties in their rotation this season and only have Dylan Cease and not much else — pending a struggling Michael Kopech’s status — expected to return from this year’s rotation, barring a trade.
“I don’t think [starting would be ruled out],” Grifol said. “You can always monitor the workload next year if that’s the case.”
Crochet, who struck out all three batters he faced at Charlotte on Sunday and two of three in his outing before that, allowing no runs and one hit, probably will throw a bullpen session Tuesday, “then we’ll evaluate and see where he’s at,” Grifol said. “There’s a possibility he can make an appearance.’’
That’s what the Sox brought him here for.
The reports from Charlotte “have been good,” Grifol said.
Everyone recalls how Crochet arrived in 2020 after being drafted 11th overall out of Tennessee, topping 100 mph with ease in his first five appearances, striking out eight batters, walking none and giving up only three hits in five appearances covering five innings. In the Sox’ wild-card loss to the Athletics that season, he struck out the two batters he faced in relief of starter Dane Dunning.
He had a 2.84 ERA in 54 games in 2021, with velocity readings averaging 96-97 mph. After exiting a spring-training game with an injury in late March 2021, he had Tommy John surgery that April.
Crochet returned on May 18 this season but lasted 10 appearances, posting a 3.60 ERA, before shoulder inflammation sidelined him again.
It’s been a “long, growing” process, Crochet said Monday.
“Glad to get out here at the end of the year healthy and hoping to finish strong. Good for morale, that’s for sure. And have a normal offseason. It’s been awhile since I’ve had one of those.”
The Sox just want to see Crochet get back on a major-league mound, feel good about himself, “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.”
“It’s exciting [to be back],” Crochet said. “The confidence was building right before I got hurt and got a chance to do it again. Keep stacking days.
“It’s kind of been a wash for me personally. Wish I could have been on the field more.”
Grifol is planning to have Crochet on it more next season.
“He’s in our plans big time for next year, and we’ve just got to make sure he toes that rubber one more time, a couple more times, and hopefully that’s the case and finish strong and head into the offseason,” Grifol said.