GLENDALE, Ariz. — Reliever Garrett Hook will undergo season-ending surgery on Tommy John, as announced by the White Sox southpaw ahead of Saturday’s Cactus League game in Scottsdale.
Dr James Andrews will perform the operation early next week.
“Definitely not the one I was thinking of doing today, for sure, just before the season,” Hook said. “But I was pitching the other day, I felt a pop on my penultimate pitch.
“I threw another just to make sure and felt a sharp pain in the same spot. I got out and went into the training room and did some of the tests and by then it was pretty clear to me I don’t know how it was [head athletic trainer] james [Kruk]corn [the] The MRI obviously showed a partial tear.
Hook started that eighth inning in Thursday night’s win over the Reds at Goodyear and took out Sebastian Almonte on strikes. After falling 3-1 to Robbie Tenerowicz, he called the coach and was substituted after a visit from manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Ethan Katz.
White Sox general manager Rick Hahn and Hook both acknowledged their disappointment at losing a key contributor. They also looked a little beyond the initial dismay.
“If you want to take the glass half full, at least from a timing standpoint as far as any Tommy John surgery goes, using the very generic around 11-13 month recovery for a reliever, we should bring him back. for the 2023 season if that is the case,” Hahn explained.
“Lots of scars in our locker room, so there’s history to follow,” Hook remarked. “Very confident to go. Let’s just hope for the best, hope for a speedy recovery.
In his first full season with the White Sox in 21, Hook posted a 2.82 ERA and struck out 10.8 batters per nine innings in 54 appearances (65 strikeouts in 54 1/3 innings). Hook was selected 11th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft and moved from the White Sox alternate training site to the Majors in the same season, trailing only the Dodgers’ Brusdar Graterol for most 100 mph throws or more in just five appearances and six innings.
His role was to transition to the starter/reliever hybrid handled so ably by Michael Kopech last season. But instead, 22-year-old Hook loses a valuable developmental season. It’s a subject that Hahn thought was too close to injury to address very specifically.
“Certainly it would be difficult for me to have a positive view of him missing the season in terms of development,” Hahn said. “The only real positive is that the timing puts him in line to be able to help us again in 2023. In terms of the role, the path of recovery and the path of development, we will take a bit here and leave the child get over all the lies ahead and we’ll chart a path for him to follow.
“Tommy John these days doesn’t seem like an end to everything, be everything,” Hook said. “I’m very confident at the start of the operation that the recovery can be even better than what I launched last spring.”
Many pundits have picked the White Sox as one of the best bullpen for the 2022 season, including MLB.com’s recent ranking of them second to Atlanta. But on Friday, the defending American League Central champions traded Craig Kimbrel and his $16 million salary for 22 to the Dodgers for outfielder AJ Pollock.
Hahn said there’s always one more move to make for a team fighting for a World Series title, a fact that’s true during this abbreviated post-lockdown offseason. This move should focus on throwing, but in the meantime, young pitchers such as southpaws Bennett Sousa and Anderson Severino and veteran Kyle Crick will get a chance to show what they’ve got.
“We think we have some quality bullpen options in-house to fill those innings,” Hahn said. “Ryan Burr and Matt Foster have looked very good this spring. We’ve been impressed with what Crick has brought to the table and both young southpaws in Sousa and Severino have shown their potential ability to help a big league club.
“So we have options. We also have Joe Kelly returning at some point, which will help dig deeper into our pen background and the options therein. There’s never a good time to lose pitch depth, regardless of your position. But we think we have some quality options to fill those voids.
While in rehab, Hook intends to be with his teammates when possible as they push for what they hope will be a championship season. He also joked with his wife they might have to choose a few hobbies over the next year.
“We love doing puzzles and stuff like that, but we’ll have to pick up some more,” Hook said. “The most important thing will be to take my mental health very seriously these first few months, because rehab is going to be quite slow. There won’t be much to do. I’m going to have to keep my mind busy.