Garrett Crochet sizzles in spring training debut vs. Shohei Ohtani

Garrett Crochet sizzles in spring training debut vs. Shohei Ohtani originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

GLENDALE, AZ – On a day when 40 million people in Japan were expected to watch Shohei Ohtani's debut on TV with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the $700 million man did not disappoint.

Neither did Garrett Crochet.

The White Sox flamethrower threw a perfect first inning in his first spring training appearance, with the highlight coming against Ohtani.

After throwing a first-pitch ball, Crochet dialed up a slider that Ohtani swung so hard and missed that his helmet came flying off his head. Crochet fired a 100 mph fastball on the next pitch that Ohtani was late on and fouled off into the seats. Crochet ended the at-bat by freezing Ohtani with a fastball on the inner half. The velocity on Crochet's fastball ranged from 97-100 mph.

"He took a big swing at the first pitch. The crowd was loud so I think we were both feeling the benefits of that. I just made some good pitches," Crochet said about the Ohtani at-bat. "He's a good player. You've got to make good pitches. We've faced each other a couple times in the past so I kind of have an idea what he's looking for. He's a power threat, so I just tried to get ahead early and stay ahead."

For a pitcher looking to crack the White Sox starting rotation despite throwing only 12 major league innings the last two seasons, Crochet couldn't have asked for a better challenge in his spring debut.  Facing a stacked Dodgers lineup, Crochet retired All-Stars Mookie Betts, Ohtani and Freddie Freeman in the opening frame.   Pedro Grifol sent Crochet out for a second inning, where he gave up two singles and made two outs, including a strikeout of Jason Heyward.

"That's what you want. I had an offseason where I put a lot of work in. I want to face a good lineup. I want to see how things are playing. The results were good," said Crochet who threw 34 pitches in 1.2 innings of work. "Definitely some positives to take away, but some things I need to work on as well. Just got to keep grinding."

Besides working with White Sox pitching coaches, Crochet has also spent time recently in camp with former White Sox left-handed starter Clayton Richard, a friend and former teammate of Chris Getz who has been a guest instructor for about a week.

Richard's request for Crochet: throw with conviction.

"I had a good bullpen three days ago with Clayton Richard and that was kind of the main focus. Just got to keep doing that," Crochet said. "He's got a lot of experience. We were actually together at the alternate site(in 2020). I don't think I said but two words to him. He's a big hulking figure and I was pretty terrified with that being my first interaction with big leaguers. He's kind of taken me under his wing the last couple days and been a good mentor. I trust him a lot in what he has to say."

Later in the game, Ohtani thrilled the Dodgers crowd and fans watching in the middle of the night in Japan by sending a 3-2 pitch over the left field fence off White Sox reliever Dominic Leone.

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