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Chicago White Sox reliever Garrett Crochet is "very likely" headed for Tommy John surgery, GM Rich Hahn announced Friday. Crochet left Thursday's spring training game with the trainer and was flexing his arm. Tommy John surgery would sideline Crochet for the entire 2022 season and likely the first several weeks of 2023 as well.

"The preliminary MRI reading is not great. There appears to be some damage to the ligament, which very likely will require Tommy John surgery," Hahn said (video). "That said, this is again preliminary, and he is going to seek out a second opinion here in the coming days. But being above board with everything along these lines, the prognosis at this time is not great."

Garrett Crochet
RP •
ERA2.82
WHIP1.27
IP54.1
BB27
K65

It is exceedingly rare for a second opinion to recommend against Tommy John surgery. Even if Crochet doesn't go under the knife, minor elbow ligament damage can require months of rehab work and strengthening exercises. The risk with rehab is it doesn't work, and the player needs Tommy John surgery at a later day anyway, delaying his return.

Crochet's prognosis was announced minutes after the White Sox traded Craig Kimbrel to the Dodgers for AJ Pollock. Obviously the club knew about Crochet's injury before making the trade, and they were comfortable enough with their bullpen depth to make the deal anyway. As things stand, manager Tony La Russa's bullpen figures to look something like this:

Crochet, 22, was the No. 11 pick in the 2020 draft, and he made the jump straight from the University of Tennessee to the big leagues during the shortened pandemic season. In 60 1/3 career innings, he owns a 2.54 ERA with 73 strikeouts. There has been talk about moving the hard-throwing Crochet into the rotation, though this injury will certainly delay that conversion.

The defending AL Central champion White Sox go into 2022 as division favorites. They open the season in Detroit on April 8.