Notes: Crochet Sharpens Offspeed Arsenal (www.mlb.com)

But C also is for competitor, in this case in particular, which was an innate ability that the 21-year-old learned a little bit more about in 2020.

“I knew that I was a tough kid and that I wasn’t really one to give up very easily,” said Crochet during a Saturday Zoom. “But I definitely showed myself a lot more than I know that I had in the tank.”

Crochet was the 11th overall pick in the ’20 Draft and made it to the Majors after a short stint at the team’s alternate training site in Schaumburg, Ill. He threw six scoreless innings over five games, striking out eight, and drew immediate attention by throwing 45 pitches at 100 mph or higher.

That manner of success led to a specific offseason focus for Crochet.

“Obviously, I was kind of just throwing a lot of fastballs and I was doing that because that’s my strength, but I was also doing that because I wasn’t as comfortable throwing my slider for strikes,” Crochet said. “That’s something I’ve been working a lot on.

“Pre-Draft, a big question was my changeup, so I’ve been putting a lot of work in on that. I feel like I’ve seen a lot of progress on both sides.”

Improvement came during Crochet’s offseason throwing program and rehab work in relation to a left flexor strain knocking him from Game 3 of the American League Wild Card Series in Oakland. Crochet told MLB.com earlier this offseason he was sore before the in-game tightness arose but wanted to push through. He felt no discomfort after taking a month off following the season.

It was a gradual process to get Crochet back to 100%. He moved to Arizona to get to work, threw from 60 feet and then 75 feet, and his arm continued to feel better as the strength returned.

“As my throwing program ramped up, I was able to ramp up my weightlifting, too, holding a little bit heavier dumbbells, starting to do some hex bar dead lifts,” Crochet said. “I saw my weight kind of start to climb back up a little bit.

“Every day I go out there seemingly feeling stronger, throwing harder. I guess that’s just a part of the rehab process. I would say about a month and a half ago is when I felt like I could really let it eat.”

Weight-wise, Crochet added about 15 pounds of mostly muscle. It’s also a little bit of extra weight just so he can hold his own a little better throughout the season. Crochet figures to work from the big league bullpen, but he’s ready to compete in any role set up by the White Sox.

“Yeah, anything involving being with the big league team is pretty interesting to me,” Crochet said. “I’m kind of just preparing right now to be a reliever, but ready to fill any role they need me.

“I’m a guy who likes to win. I know that we are going to be looking to win some ballgames.”

Third to first
• Manager Tony La Russa received both shots of the COVID-19 vaccine before arriving at Spring Training.

“It goes with being a senior citizen,” said the 76-year-old La Russa. “So, you’ve got to take advantage.”

• Sunday was referred to by La Russa as competition day in camp, taking White Sox pitchers in a different direction after four days of bullpens and things such as fielding drills.

“You pick some team captains and a lot of the same drills like fielding, you have four groups,” La Russa said. “They play against each other and then the two winners against each other to win the championship, and you have some kind of prize. It’s the drills and … instead of just going through to learn, trying to make it competitive where there’s a winner.”

He said it
“My plan since I was a young kid: Get yourself ready to throw 100 pitches Day 1, be able to throw 200 innings, strike out 200 hitters and be there every five days.” — Lance Lynn, on Spring Training preparation