ARLINGTON, Texas — The Chicago White Sox drafted Garrett Hook in June 2020, and the No. 11 pick found himself making big throws in the major leagues in September.
The southpaw hasn’t allowed a run in five appearances in 2020 spread over six innings. He continued to be one of the most reliable members of the bullpen last year.
Hook, 23, was set for an expanded role in 2022 and looked sharp in spring training before suffering an injury that required season-ending Tommy John surgery.
He provided an update over the weekend while with the Sox for their series against the Texas Rangers.
“Things are going well,” Hook said Friday at Globe Life Field. “(I) trained in (Arizona). I kind of mind my own business like I have the whole rehab process. Just take it one step at a time.
“(I) play wrestling at the end of the month. I can not wait to be there. But in the meantime, we work on the strength of the shoulders and the stability with the arm.
“Everything is progressing as planned, so I’m delighted to have a ball in my hand.”
Hook has a 2.54 ERA in 59 career relief appearances, striking out 73 in 60⅓ innings.
He started the eighth inning of a Cactus League game on March 31 against the Cincinnati Reds 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.
The next day, Sox general manager Rick Hahn said “the preliminary MRI reading isn’t great”, and Hook underwent surgery in early April.
“He feels good,” Sox manager Tony La Russa said Thursday. “Just a reminder of what he expects from this organization and from our fans. He will be better than ever when he returns. And that’s saying something.
Injuries have forced the Sox to shuffle in the bullpen this season. Hook and Aaron Bummer were penciled in as the best left-handed options. Bummer was limited to 20 outings due to injury. He was on the DL from May 7-22 with a right knee sprain and returned to IL retroactive to June 9 with a left lateral sprain. He last pitched on June 7.
Jake Diekman, acquired in a trade last week from the Boston Red Sox, is the only left-hander in the bullpen after the Sox traded Tanner Banks for Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday. Diekman allowed one run and struck out five in his first three appearances with the White Sox.
Even though he couldn’t be on the mound, Hook tried to help the team in other ways.
“Joining the team at this time of year the energy is high and I enjoy being in that environment in every way I can to add to the positive energy,” he said.
He was able to rely on teammates who were previously sidelined.
“Seeing that my teammates have been there before, I kind of know the path I have to take,” Hook said. “It’s up to me to follow him at this point.
“I stay present in the moment and I’m there for my teammates. I feel like that’s the main thing I want to get out of it. I will have time to focus on the pitch when I pitch. I’m just trying to be really selfless.
Hook worked on smoothing out his mechanics before the injury. He plans to continue this process when he gets the clearance.
“I broke that pretty big last offseason,” Hook said. “I can’t wait to get back to all the work I was working on and pick up where I left off.”