Yasmani Grandal feeling good Saturday after returning to White Sox’ lineup day before
Back with the team after a rehab stint split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, the veteran felt an understandable adrenaline rush.
In his first game back with the White Sox in more than a month, Yasmani Grandal chatted with plate umpire Dan Bellino on Friday night.
“I just kept telling him, ‘I’m hoping to get out of this game healthy. That’s all I’m looking for,’ ” Grandal said before Saturday’s doubleheader against the Guardians.
It’s a familiar refrain, not just for Grandal in particular, but the Sox in general. Injuries have dented their lineup all season as they try to find traction in the American League Central.
Grandal made it through Friday night’s game unscathed and reported no major issues a day later.
“Feeling good today,” he said. “A little achy here and there, but that’s just things that are going to happen.”
Especially for someone who had two surgeries on his right knee after tearing a tendon last July and then going on the injured list last month with lower back spasms.
Back with the team after a rehab stint split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, Grandal felt an understandable adrenaline rush.
“[Friday] for me was exciting,” he said. “In the fourth inning, I was still shaking. I was just way too hyped.”
“It’s good to have him back,” manager Tony La Russa said. “We need his production and what he brings to the club.”
They got some of that production in the opener. Grandal went 3-for-4, driving in the Sox’ first run in a 7-4 loss. His RBI came against Guardians right-hander Triston McKenzie and was a welcome development for a team that was slashing .249/.303/.357 against righties and .285/.342/.449 against lefties through Friday.
Grandal, a switch-hitter, gives La Russa another option to improve those numbers against righties while waiting to see who, if anyone, general manager Rick Hahn adds by the trade deadline Aug. 2.
Even before he was sidelined with his latest injury, Grandal was scuffling at the plate this season with a .181/.288/.232 slash line.
But he’s hoping all those health issues are behind him and he can get back to being the hitter the Sox need him to be.
“It’s crazy because at the beginning of the year, it was all about the knee I had surgery on and trying to take care of that,” Grandal said. “But as soon as the back went, all of a sudden it was like nothing happened to the knee. Like squatting, like nothing [wrong]. ... So the knee’s good. Now it’s just taking care of the other side of the body.”
Top pick signed
The Sox announced the signing of their first-round draft pick, Oswego East left-hander Noah Schultz.
Schultz, the No. 26 overall selection, signed a minor-league contract with a $2.8 million bonus. That’s just above the slot value of $2.788 million.
Schultz, who is 6-9 and would be one of the tallest pitchers in MLB history, had committed to Vanderbilt.
La Russa said it’s never fun to tell players to take it easy when running the bases or racing to make a play in the field.
“I remember back in the ’80s, you could never tell when [Bo Jackson’s] legs were sore or if he was running as fast as he could,” La Russa said. “You’ve got to trust ... the guys — it’s that old thing, 75% of what they’ve got is better than no percent. But running the bases, you’re in control. [On] defense, tougher.”