GLENDALE, Ariz. – Left-hander Garrett Crochet caught everyone’s fancy touching 101 and 102 mph last season.
A few months removed from college, the Sox’ No. 11 overall pick in the draft also mixed in a plus slider and was close to unhittable. He didn’t allow a run in five appearances.
But in Cactus League games, Crochet hasn’t touched 100 yet.
“I wouldn’t look too far into it,” pitching coach Ethan Katz told the Sun-Times. “Those games [season] are high intensity, but he’s popping 98 and 99, and easily in a real game everything flowing right with his mechanics you can be seeing 100, 101 again.
“I don’t look too much into that because there is stuff they’re working on, a bunch of guys in spring, mentally and physically, and the results in spring don’t mean what you’re going to see in the regular season.”
Crochet gained 15 pounds of muscle in the offseason, so that is different. He also has altered his delivery a bit.
“It was a little more crossfire … so he’s working hard on the side to get better direction toward home plate,” Katz said. “It’s also his first time through spring training. He had a different offseason than normal and he put on some good weight.”
Crochet left Game 3 of the Sox’ Wild Card series against the Athletics with a forearm strain, so the recovery from that made for a different offseason.
“When you have a little down time there is a tendency for pitchers where stuff creeps in that you’re not trying to have happen and you have to readjust,” Katz said. “He’s readjusting nicely and it’s starting to come together for him.”
Crochet is scheduled to make his seventh appearance of the spring against the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz., today. He has allowed one run in six appearances covering six innings this spring. He struck out two batters in a scoreless inning against the Diamondbacks Sunday, and has six strikeouts total.
“Every time I go back out there, I feel a lot more comfortable,” he said after a recent outing.
“Once the season gets going and we’re competing against other teams, obviously won’t be able to hold back at that point. Not really even that I’m holding back right now, just trying to perform well and earn myself a spot on the team.”
The triple digits are probably yet to come. Not getting there yet “also has to do with him recovering from an offseason that was different based on what happened last year,” Katz said. “He’s still getting into the swing of things he’s been eased into, and we want to make sure he has ample amount of rest and that we’re not doing anything to stress him too much in spring training.
“He’s working through some things but looking better and better each time out.”
‘A pretty cool guy’
Tim Anderson got in front of concerns there would be tension between himself, a new age star of a different era where players are expressing themselves with bat flips and the like, and 76-year-old manager Tony La Russa.
Anderson said getting to know La Russa and vice versa has eased the transition from former manager Rick Renteria.
“You’re going to figure out somebody when you don’t know them and it’s different when you meet them,” Anderson said. “There’s a lot of people who don’t like me but they don’t know me. And once you get to know me I think I’m a pretty cool guy.”