GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Chicago White Sox are looking ahead to a 2022 season without one of their best young bullpen arms.
Reliever Garrett Hook will likely need surgery on Tommy John after sustaining an injury in Thursday’s Cactus League game against the Cincinnati Reds, general manager Rick Hahn said.
“The preliminary MRI reading isn’t great,” Hahn said Friday. “There appears to be damage to the ligament which will most likely require Tommy John surgery.
“Having said that, it is again preliminary and he will be seeking a second opinion here in the next few days. But being on top of everything with everything going in this direction, the prognosis at the moment is not great .
The southpaw started the eighth inning at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Ariz., with one strikeout. He went to a 3-1 count on the next batter before being watched by the coaching staff and leaving the game.
Said Hahn: “It looks like the pitch before he felt a little something, but he kind of disappeared, then he threw the next pitch and again felt a sharp pain and wisely stopped him at that time.”
Hahn said with a “glass half full” approach, Hook should be back in time for next season if the pitcher has surgery.
“Using the very generic approximate payback of 11 to 13 months for a reliever, we should get him back for the 2023 season, if that’s the case,” Hahn said.
Hook and Aaron Bummer are the two best southpaws in the bullpen on the team. Hook was the No. 11 pick in the 2020 draft and made an impact after joining the big league club during the season.
Hook had a 2.82 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 54 relief appearances last season. He impressed this spring, allowing an earned run with eight strikeouts in 4⅓ innings.
“There aren’t many lefties like Garrett,” manager Tony La Russa said. “You go into this explanation that you have to be very careful with: you can’t replace Hook, but if you say that literally, it means we’re not that good and we can’t afford not to be that good. , so someone else has to intervene.
Hahn predicts the Sox will have at least one more left-handed reliever to join Bummer in the bullpen on Opening Day. Bennett Sousa and Anderson Severino are possible options.
“It’s more about the ability to get left-handed and right-handed out than necessarily matching left to left,” Hahn said of the bullpen. “We’re pretty happy with the depth of options we have.”
The Sox and Giolito avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year, $7.45 million contract on Friday.
Giolito, 26, went 11-9 with a 3.53 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 31 starts in 2021. He has received American League Cy Young Award votes in each of the past three seasons. .
“Had good, honest face-to-face conversations with Lucas,” Hahn said. “(Deputy Managing Director) Jeremy Haber did it too. And frankly and perhaps most interestingly, so has (President) Jerry Reinsdorf. He and Lucas met one-on-one, had a nice chat about how negotiations sometimes get a little bogged down, and tried to work out solutions.
“Obviously we’re happy that we were able to do that and that everyone is properly focused on the coming season and that we’re not worried about preparing for some sort of in-season audience.”
Giolito said the conversation with Reinsdorf was “really good.”
“A ton of mutual respect there,” Giolito said. “I saw their side, they saw my side, and when it was all said and done we were able to get things done and focus on what we are trying to do as a team.”
Giolito also wanted to thank Hahn and Haber.
“This process can get ugly at times, but they’ve worked hard to work with me and communicate with me and try to make it as seamless as possible,” Giolito said. “And then go talk to Jerry, same deal. There’s a lot of love there.