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White Sox LHP Garrett Crochet will make his 1st career start on opening day

Garrett Crochet’s first career start will be one to remember.

The Chicago White Sox will hand the ball to Crochet on opening day, showing their faith in his transition from the bullpen to the starting rotation. The hard-throwing Crochet has made 72 career appearances, but all have come in relief.

That will change March 28 when the White Sox host the Detroit Tigers to start the season.

“Very shocked to say the least,” Crochet told reporters Monday. “I heard they had some exciting news for me, and I thought it was just that I’d made the rotation.”

The White Sox didn’t have any obvious candidates for opening day after they traded Dylan Cease to the San Diego Padres last week. The 24-year-old Crochet has made an impression this spring by striking out 12 and walking none in nine scoreless innings, though he has started in only one of his four Cactus League appearances.

Crochet, a 6-foot-6 left-hander, was selected by Chicago with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 amateur draft out of the University of Tennessee. He missed the 2022 season while he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

For his career, he owns a 3-7 record with a 2.71 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 73 innings. Now he gets to show what he can do as a starter.

“It’s humbling and very gratifying,” Crochet said. “I worked my tail off this spring, had a lot of solid veterans to lean on this camp and was able to put together a good couple of outings. I feel like I earned it. I feel like I’ve kind of been waiting for this moment but didn’t really know if it would come, so to be awarded this, it’s a huge honor.”

TWINS' DURAN TO MISS START OF SEASON

The Minnesota Twins will open their AL Central title defense without closer Jhoan Duran, who has a moderate oblique strain.

Duran, reliever Caleb Thielbar and starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani all are expected to open the season on the injured list. Thielbar has a hamstring injury, while DeSclafani is dealing with an elbow issue.

SHOWALTER’S NEW JOB

Former New York Mets manager Buck Showalter will rejoin MLB Network as an analyst. The network announced Monday that it is bringing back Showalter.

Showalter previously worked for MLB Network from 2020-21. He was named NL Manager of the Year after leading the Mets to 101 wins in 2022 but was fired after they slipped to 75-87 last season.

BRAVES OPTION ELDER, YNOA

Bryce Elder, who made the NL All-Star team with the Atlanta Braves last season before struggling late in the year, has been optioned to the minors.

The decisions to option both Elder and Huascar Ynoa signaled that Reynaldo López will be the fifth starter in a rotation that also includes Spencer Strider, Max Fried, Charlie Morton and Chris Sale. The Braves signed López to a $30 million, three-year contract in November.

López has made 97 career starts, but only one over the last two seasons when he thrived as a reliever.

RANGERS’ BOCHY OPTIMISTIC ON SBORZ

Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy says reliever Josh Sborz remains on track to be ready for the season opener. Sborz hasn’t pitched in a spring training game since March 6 because of knee soreness.

Sborz, who got the final seven outs for the Rangers in their World Series clincher in Game 5 at Arizona, was set to throw live batting practice Monday.

World Series MVP Corey Seager, who had surgery for a sports hernia in January, faced live pitching Monday for the first time in camp. The shortstop also is fielding and throwing.

ENCOURAGING SIGN FOR YANKEES

Carlos Rodón’s first season for the New York Yankees was a failure, but the left-hander has shown signs this spring that he might be ready to rebound.

Rodón struck out five, walked one and didn’t allow any hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. He lowered his Grapefruit League ERA to 2.93.

He threw 50 of 72 pitches for strikes, and reached 96 mph with his fastball before he was removed from the game by former Yankees manager Joe Torre, who is serving as a guest instructor.

“I looked up and I was like, ‘Oh it’s Joe Torre,’” Rodón said. “So I had to give the ball away. It was cool. I mean, everybody knows who Joe Torre is, and he got a nice ovation coming out there.”

Torre, who managed the team to four World Series titles and six AL pennants, is in uniform at Steinbrenner Field for the first time since his final spring training as New York manager in 2007. He arrived in camp on Friday.

Rodón is scheduled to start the second game of the regular season March 29 at Houston.

He went 3-8 with a 6.85 ERA in 14 starts last season after the Yankees signed him to a six-year, $162 million contract. He missed the start of the season with a strained forearm and later dealt with a back injury.

BAUER TO PITCH FOR MEXICAN TEAM

Trevor Bauer says he will pitch for the Mexican team Diablos Rojos in their Sunday exhibition game with the Yankees.

The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner is attempting to return to Major League Baseball for the first time in three years following his lengthy suspension by MLB and release from the Los Angeles Dodgers after a woman accused him of sexual assault.

Bauer, 33, said Monday in a post on X, that he also has agreed to pitch five games for Diablos Rojos from April 11 to May 8 “in lieu of a traditional spring training period as it’s the best way for me to stay ready to pitch.”

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AP Baseball Writer Stephen Hawkins and AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed to this report.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb