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The Garrett Crochet velocity situation refuses to become clearer.
A day after Crochet and the White Sox said his season-long velocity drop was due to repeatable mechanics and being viable for the long haul, the White Sox placed Crochet on the injured list with an upper back strain, retroactive to Monday.
The injury casts his real velocity back into doubt, because while he hasn’t been able to hit 100 since the spring, that’s also apparently how long he’s been dealing with the back problem.
Tony La Russa described the trip to the IL as cautionary, and perhaps it is. With two off days in the first full week of May, the White Sox will only lack Crochet for seven games. We’ll find out afterward how much of a breather it really provided.
Crochet was not replaced on the roster by a pitcher, but by Luis Robert, who is coming off the COVID-19 list after an unrelated illness. Danny Mendick joined him from Schaumburg as today’s 27th man. Alex McRae is already on hand as the fungible arm in case somebody needs to wear it.
Crochet’s absence means the White Sox will only have one lefty reliever among them. That’s not unique, as the White Sox had to go without Aaron Bummer and Jace Fry at the same time last year, leaving the Sox bullpen with just Ross Detwiler, whom Rick Renteria never seemed to trust. Nevertheless, the bullpen fared decently because Jimmy Cordero was the only reliever who was specifically vulnerable to left-handed hitting.
It’s a different story this year, because while the sample sizes are small, the initial returns are rough:
White Sox relievers have surrendered six homers to lefty bats so far this year, or seven if you count David Dahl‘s solo shot during Kopech’s start. I wouldn’t, but we’re just being thorough. Marshall is the only one who is maintaining the same shape of performance early, although he’s compensated by getting crushed by righties to start the season.
That said, Crochet wasn’t quite the lefty-killer either, because he’d allowed three singles, three walks and an HBP over 18 plate appearances with lefties, good for a .438 OBP. He’d struck out just three of them due to the issues with slider command.
Bummer will be the bullpen’s lone lefty in the interim, and he’ll have to work on his location as well. Same-sided hitters are 3-for-12 with a walk against him, although it feels worse because it’s a part of his larger first-batter issues (three singles, three walks, three strikeouts), which makes the remainder of his innings uneasy. At any rate, smoother sailing would be appreciated. That kinda goes without saying for every reliever on the White Sox, but given the subject at (left) hand, at least there’s a specific reason to be specific.
(Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire)