Notes: Crochet more 'refined'; Robert close

April 29th, 2021

CHICAGO -- admits his first full season in the big leagues has been an adjustment, between his first full Spring Training and then then coming to Chicago and throwing in the cold April weather.

“It’s a little bit different than I expected,” said the left-hander, who has allowed just one earned run across nine innings of relief in 2021. “Just trying to stay in the routine of things, trying to keep going about the same business every day.

"It’s definitely been a growing experience, trying to go out there with the same mindset every time, regardless of runners on base or how many outs there are. Just trying to attack the batter at hand and take it pitch by pitch.”

Crochet, 21, was taken with the 11th selection overall in the ’20 Draft and has posted the second-highest number of fastballs at 100 mph or above in his short time in the Majors. But his focus is becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower, with his velocity dropping a tick as he develops as an integral part of the White Sox bullpen.

“I’d say I’m using my changeup a lot more and slider a little bit less,” Crochet said. “But that’s just because my consistency of strikes with the slider so far hasn’t been good. Just trying to keep the confidence there, to keep using it in games.

“I would say I definitely feel more refined as a pitcher. It’s only been a couple of months since last year, but I definitely feel that I’m more aware of what my body is doing and kind of what I need to do between days.”

Robert close to possible return
All of Luis Robert’s tests came back negative, according to manager Tony La Russa, meaning the talented outfielder could be activated soon from the injured list. Robert was placed there for precautionary measures prior to Tuesday’s game when he developed flu-like symptoms.

“He's improving. He's going to stop by today, I think, just to make sure he's good,” La Russa said. “I think there's a solid chance that we can activate him tomorrow.

“Hopefully he'll be back tomorrow and playing. He's achy and regaining strength. If you've been outside, this is not the day to try to activate him. So better off, we're all really pleased with the reports and it's just a couple of days, a 48-hour thing.”

Upon further review
La Russa watched the video of Lucas Giolito’s performance from Detroit’s 5-2 victory Tuesday, when Giolito was touched up for three runs with one out in the seventh. La Russa told reporters postgame he “didn’t have much left in the tank” as he was pushing toward 114 pitches on one week’s rest. La Russa once again took the blame for not picking up on that situation.

“In the end, with the extra rest he had, I felt confident he could get it. I was surprised as you could tell when he said he felt like he was running out of gas,” La Russa said. “But the buck passes to the desk of the guy who makes the decisions and that’s me. So I take the responsibility.

“I’m paying attention during the game. So, when it’s over, if somebody thinks I made a mistake, it wasn’t because I was distracted and falling asleep or anything.”

Pitching coach Ethan Katz talked to Giolito in between the sixth and seventh innings and there was no mention of any issues, per La Russa.

Third to first
• La Russa continues with a day-by-day approach in terms of the next starting opportunity for Michael Kopech, who probably won’t pitch until Friday after his 10-strikeout effort in five innings Sunday.

“If it’s possible, we do have two doubleheaders coming up on the 14th [vs. Kansas City] and the 31st [at Cleveland],” La Russa said. “Those would be days if it’s possible. It makes a lot of sense to rest him a couple of days before and a couple of days after and let him do that. You are not going to throw away a game you can win to save him for a game that you are going to play.”

They said it
“We will need to pay attention to these games as if it’s the second half of the year.” -- La Russa on the White Sox facing the American League Central in 19 of their next 21 games, beginning with Tuesday’s loss.