GLENDALE, Ariz. — With his legs finally moving again, even if they do feel like they’re churning underwater, new White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal hopes to be at full speed soon so he can join the movement.
Close to a breakthrough after seven consecutive seasons of under-.500 baseball, the Sox figure to be over the break-even mark this season. By the sound of it, Grandal thinks they should be comfortably over that marker.
“Obviously, every time the season starts coming around, even for spring training, you get excited for the team and to be around the guys,” Grandal said Thursday morning, one day after he made his spring debut in a B game after working through a strained left calf. “We have very high expectations, so it’s going to be a fun year.”
Grandal signed a four-year, $73 million deal with the Sox this winter to help solidify what has grown into an intimidating lineup.
Tim Anderson will set the table after winning a batting title in 2019. Then comes the power: Yoan Moncada, Jose Abreu, Grandal, Edwin Encarnacion, Eloy Jimenez, Nomar Mazara and Luis Robert.
“Everybody has impressed me,’’ Grandal said. “I mean, we have a good core of young guys that are going to be coming up and helping us out, especially in the future. Everybody has been great. Everybody has been working hard . . . so the future with everything looks bright.”
After a double, a steal and three innings behind the plate on a back field Wednesday, Grandal will see his first Cactus League action Friday in Mesa against the Cubs. Maybe by then he won’t feel like he’s running in quicksand.
“I was trying to feel my legs get underneath me, but they were way behind me,” Grandal said. “So, yeah, I was trying to get to second, which I didn’t think I was going to do, and thank god the right fielder bobbled it, like, five times, and I was able to make it.”
He did steal third base when the Reds’ defense was in a pronounced defensive shift, so it couldn’t have been all that bad.
“I talked to him today behind the cage a little bit while they were taking [batting practice], and he felt good,” manager Rick Renteria said. “Goodness, he hits a double, steals third, and they are off the bases on the shift. He was moving pretty well. It was his first game, so he’s feeling a little of the game wind you get.”
He can deal with being a little winded. At one point, he thought he might be dealing with much more than that.
“My main concern was that the doc said if it happens again, especially this early, it can be eight weeks,” Grandal said. “Him saying that kind of stays in the back of your head. . . . So far, so good, and hopefully we won’t have to be talking about this for much longer.”