White Sox reliever Garrett Hook ticks the boxes in spring training

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — Garrett Hookthe second half of the White Sox high-octane left-handed bullpen tandem with Aaron Bummerwas turned off in its first three appearances this spring.

Trying to go more than one inning Monday against the Padres, not so much.

After going 6-6, sophomore, the former first-round draft pick allowed two hits and no walks while striking out five batters in three one-inning appearances, Hook allowed five runs (four earned) of two walks and four hits, including a home run to catcher Jorge Alfaro.

His stuff was still good: Hook recorded four strikeouts. The same goes for spring training, when no one remembers your numbers in mid-April.

“As a pitcher, you usually work on stuff,” veteran Dallas Keuchel said.

“I feel really fluid mechanically and I feel confident throwing all of my pitches, regardless of the number,” Hook said ahead of Monday’s release. “Those were my goals before the season, and so far it’s working.”

Hook said his best pitch is a toss between his fastball and his slider.

“But I feel just as comfortable with my change – which has come such a long way since I was drafted. [11th overall in 2020]and it could easily overtake them eventually,” he said.

Coming off his first full season in which he played 54 games, posting a 2.82 ERA with 65 strikeouts and a 1.270 WHIP in 54⅓ innings, Hook “definitely gained comfort in that environment,” said- he declared.

“And the knowledge and experience of what it takes to get through the season. It’s no longer the unknown where I tiptoe around the clubhouse. Now I know how to behave and what I can’t wait to help this team win baseball games this year.

Burger OK

Infielder Jacques Burger, who left Sunday’s game with a sore left ankle, was back on the court on Monday taking ground balls. Burger, the former first-round pick who ruptured his left Achilles tendon in spring training four years ago, said it was related to scar tissue in the area and he it was not uncommon for him to get hurt.

“My foot is a little stiffer, the Achilles tendon is a little stiffer,” Burger said. “I dealt with it six, seven times last year and it’s not something that took me out for a week or even a game.”

Mercedes gets surgery

Yermine Mercedes had surgery Monday in Phoenix to repair a broken hamate bone. He will be out for six to eight weeks. Mercedes, a catcher by trade who played in left field this spring, was not to be part of the Opening Day roster. Mercedes was the American League Rookie of the Month last April.

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