Michael Soroka eager for a new opportunity with the Chicago White Sox after 3 years of injuries: ‘They see my potential’

Michael Soroka had heard rumblings of a potential trade.

“I had a good idea about the possibility of me being moved,” he said during a video conference call Monday.

The right-hander received a call from Alex Anthopoulos on Thursday evening, and the Atlanta Braves president of baseball operations informed Soroka he was headed to the Chicago White Sox.

“Alex laid out what their plans were and giving me an opportunity to get somewhere to pitch,” Soroka said. “I appreciate that, the candid conversation I had with him.

“And then the (call) after that with (Sox general manager) Chris Getz, they stressed how excited they were about me and that made me feel awesome. That was a nice little boost of confidence to get somewhere that I think believes in me.”

Soroka was dealt to the Sox — along with left-hander Jared Shuster, infielders Nicky Lopez and Braden Shewmake and minor-league right-hander Riley Gowens — in exchange for reliever Aaron Bummer.

“I’m very excited having listened to some of the new people that are moving into the White Sox organization,” Soroka said. “It’s an exciting thing and I can’t wait to get out there.

“They see my potential and everybody in the organization seems to be wanting to extract the most out of that right now and down the line. I’m very excited to get to work. These people seem awesome.”

Soroka pitched for the Braves and at Triple-A Gwinnett in 2023, his first action since 2020 after tearing and then re-tearing his right Achilles tendon.

“I did feel a big weight lifted off my shoulder when I did make it back last year,” Soroka said. “Although I was a little more rusty last year than I would have hoped I would be, it was only natural.

“I got to work through some kinks last year and I felt like I got to a really good point near the end of the season. The confidence started coming back naturally.”

Soroka went 2-2 with a 6.40 ERA and 29 strikeouts in seven games (six starts) with the Braves and 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 17 starts for Gwinnett.

Getz said the pitcher displayed “moments and flashes of what Soroka was earlier in his career” and ”there is some upside there.”

“You’ve got a player that was one of the top pitchers in the game years ago,” Getz said during a video conference Friday. “Unfortunately he had the Achilles injury that he missed a decent amount of time there.

“He’s coming from an organization that has been recently successful. He’s pitched really meaningful games for the Atlanta Braves.”

Soroka has a 17-8 career record with a 3.32 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 44 games (43 starts) during parts of four seasons with the Braves.

He earned All-Star honors, finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting and sixth for the NL Cy Young Award in 2019 after going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 29 starts.

Soroka made three starts in 2020 before suffering the torn right Achilles tendon on Aug. 3, 2020. He re-tore it in June 2021.

“These last three years didn’t go as planned for anybody,” Soroka said. “But I feel really good right now. I’ve been lucky to find a couple of groups to work with. One group that got me through the second rehab in Green Bay, the staff that worked under my surgeon, they did an amazing job to make sure I did everything I could to get back.

“Although it took some time, I got there eventually. I’m starting to feel like an athlete I wanted to be from the start, or even better athlete.”

Former Sox infielder Jake Burger — who also returned from multiple Achilles tears — was helpful through the process.

“He was the only one really in pro sports that had done it twice and come out the other side,” Soroka said. “He stressed, ‘Just keep going.’”

While his 2023 season ended in early September because of right shoulder inflammation, Soroka said he’s already back throwing and “feels great.”

He’s looking ahead to an opportunity with the Sox that “means everything.”

“Coming through injuries the last three years,” Soroka said, “having an idea that a change of scenery might benefit (me), having listened to (Sox senior adviser to pitching) Brian Bannister and a little bit of (Sox pitching coach) Ethan (Katz) and talking to (former Braves teammate) Max Fried, who was with (Katz) in high school, how many people have done such good work with these people is pretty exciting for me.”


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