White Sox left-hander Shane Drohan, whom they selected out of the Red Sox organization in the 2023 Rule 5 Draft, underwent a nerve decompression procedure in his left shoulder this morning, manager Pedro Grifol announced (X link via Sox Machine’s James Fegan). The Chicago skipper also revealed that free agent signee John Brebbia is dealing with a calf strain, but the team is hopeful he’ll still be ready for Opening Day.
The current hope is that Drohan will be able to begin a throwing progression by the end of camp, though that will obviously depend on how his shoulder responds in the early stages of his recovery. The 25-year-old southpaw posted excellent numbers with the Red Sox in Double-A to begin the 2023 season before struggling to a 6.87 mark in 89 frames upon being bumped up to Triple-A Worcester. That sample of 89 innings was the first point of real struggle for Drohan to this point in his professional career. He’d posted a combined 3.57 ERA up to that point, leaning heavily on a plus changeup that makes him particularly effective against right-handers.
The Sox haven’t provided a timeline for Drohan’s recovery, though he’ll certainly open the season on the injured list. He’ll accrue big league service time and pay during that time. His status as a Rule 5 pick prevents him from being optioned to the minors. Drohan will need to spend the entire season on the White Sox’ big league roster and/or injured list — with 90 days on the active roster — in order to shed his Rule 5 status for the 2025 season. If the White Sox want to drop him from the roster at any point, he’d need to be placed on waivers and, if he clears, offered back to the Red Sox for a nominal sum of $50K.
Brebbia, 33, signed a one-year, $5.5MM deal that contains a mutual option earlier this offseason. He’s expected to be in the late-inning mix in Chicago after the Sox dismantled the bullpen with offseason trades of Aaron Bummer and Gregory Santos (and, prior to the summer deadline, trades of Reynaldo Lopez, Kendall Graveman and Keynan Middleton).
Over the past two seasons in San Francisco, Brebbia has posted a 3.47 ERA with a 22.5% strikeout rate and 7.1% walk rate. He picked up 24 holds in that time and might’ve logged more, had it not been for his frequent usage as an opener on the team’s patchwork pitching staff.
If Brebbia is forced to the injured list to begin the season, an already unsettled Sox bullpen will be even more wide open. Veteran lefty Tim Hill signed a big league deal this offseason and is assured one spot. Righties Touki Toussaint, Jimmy Lambert and Deivi Garcia are out of minor league options and likely have an inside track on another three. Southpaw Garrett Crochet is an option, but GM Chris Getz spoke earlier this month about wanting to honor the southpaw’s desire to build up as a starter.
The Sox have a large stable of experienced veterans on minor league deals this spring, with Jesse Chavez, Corey Knebel, Dominic Leone, Bryan Shaw and Joe Barlow among their NRIs in camp. Trade acquisition Prelander Berroa, waiver claim Alex Speas and draftees Tanner Banks and Sammy Peralta are all on the 40-man roster as well.