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Chicago White Sox hope Garrett Crochet gets All-Star nod

Chicago White Sox hope Garrett Crochet gets All-Star nod

Chicago White Sox hope Garrett Crochet gets All-Star nod

Garrett Crochet will likely be the only Chicago White Sox representative on the American League All-Star team.

But with the Sox trying to limit Crochet’s workload in his first season as a starter, do they even want to pitch in the Midsummer Classic?

Manager Pedro Grifol, who has coached in two All-Star games, said the answer is an unequivocal yes.

“Just being around the guys when they’re there, it’s an incredible experience, especially if it’s your first time going to an All-Star Game,” he said. “And it’s an even more incredible experience to be able to participate in it. We’ll do everything we can to make sure he’s available to pitch in it, unless he’s pitching on the last day before the break or something like that.

“But right now, if he gets to represent us there, we’d love for him to be able to participate in that.”

Of course, that’s assuming the Sox don’t trade Crochet, who is arguably the most valuable starting pitcher on the market. The Chicago Cubs traded Jeff Samardzija to the Oakland A’s before he was named to the 2014 All-Star team. Samardzija attended the festivities but did not pitch.

Crochet said it would be “cool” to pitch in the All-Star Game, adding that it’s out of his control.

“I’ve got to pitch well and give the guys a chance to win, and whatever happens,” he said.

Crochet’s next start is scheduled for Sunday against the Colorado Rockies and, absent a rotation change, would be scheduled to play July 6 at Miami and July 12 at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That would give him three days of rest before the July 16 game in Arlington, Texas.

Crochet is likely to start for the AL team, given that he leads the league with 130 strikeouts and is tied for second in bWAR (3.8). No one stands head and shoulders above the rest, and Tarik Skubal of the Detroit Tigers, Tanner Houck of the Boston Red Sox, Seth Lugo of the Kansas City Royals and Corbin Burnes of the Baltimore Orioles are also in the conversation.

White Sox starting pitcher Garrett Crochet throws in the second inning against the Reds at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 13, 2024 in Chicago.  (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)
White Sox starting pitcher Garrett Crochet throws in the second inning against the Reds at Guaranteed Rate Field on April 13, 2024 in Chicago. (John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune)

Grifol has said repeatedly that he should manage Crochet’s pitch count and innings, which is easier said than done the way the left-hander throws. He will be a strong contender for AL Pitcher of the Month with a 1.76 ERA in his five June starts with 45 strikeouts and just six walks and one home run allowed in 30 2/3 innings.

When asked recently if he thinks the Sox will increase their pitching numbers as they prove to be stronger with each outing, Crochet told the Tribune, “The thoughts we’ve had is we’ll reevaluate after the All-Star break . I felt good and communicated with the training staff that I felt good.

“It’s only natural that there’s a little bit of concern, since I’ve never thrown that many innings. But my body is responding really well, so that’s all I can ask for.”

It was thought early on that Crochet could be used in the bullpen later in the summer to limit his innings. Or he could be shut down if the Sox wanted to be overprotective, as the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in September 2012.

“He had a great season for us,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said at the time. “You couldn’t ask for anything more after his first season with Tommy John surgery. He’s a big part of where we are now.”

Crochet missed all of 2022 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and is as valuable to the Sox as Strasburg was to the Nats.

“There are a number of different ways,” Crochet told me. “It’s just about me being honest with the (training) staff when that time comes. I’m kind of ready to go out there and pitch until they get my ball.”

While Grifol has to be cautious about his ace, he also understands the importance for Sox fans to see Crochet get the recognition he deserves.

“Once he started four, five, six games and we started to see where it was going, at least in my mind I started thinking about the All-Star Game for him,” Grifol said. “You start to shut him down and that limits the possibilities for him to participate in that game. That’s not why you keep him.

“You keep him going because every test we have, every communication we have with everybody in the building says he’s still going strong, getting stronger and able to withstand what he’s doing now.”