Twisted knee sidelines White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal

Grandal will miss at least two Cactus League games. The schedule begins Sunday, when the Sox host the Brewers.

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Jason Martin of the Pittsburgh Pirates scores against Yasmani Grandal of the White Sox at PNC Park on September 8, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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GLENDALE, Ariz. — White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal twisted his right knee running during drills at spring training and will miss the team’s first two Cactus League games Sunday and Monday, manager Tony La Russa said Saturday.

Grandal has not participated in workouts the last three days. He has inflammation after twisting the knee on Wednesday.

“We’re going to hold him a couple of days so it works itself out,” La Russa said. “He won’t play in the first two games. We’ll see by Tuesday.”

Zack Collins (Sunday) and Yermin Mercedes (Monday) will start the first two games, La Russa said. Jonathan Lucroy, Seby Zavala and Carlos Perez are also in camp. Perez, who played at advanced Class A Winston-Salem in 2019, is getting a lot of looks and a favorable mention from La Russa.

“We’ve got 30 games,” La Russa said. “Yasmani came in in great shape, working very hard, so there is no reason to push him before he’s ready. So that’s good. There’s time for him.”

The Sox have numbers in backups but no clear-cut choice as the No. 2, although Lucroy, 34, in camp on a minor-league deal, is the leading candidate.

Cactus League opener

Mike Wright starts the (six-inning) opener Sunday against the Brewers, with Bennett Sousa, Kade McClure, Jacob Lindgren and Danny Dopico also slated. After Alex McRae starts Monday, the Sox will begin rolling out some regular starters, with Lucas Giolito slated Tuesday against the Rangers and Lance Lynn on Thursday at the Giants.

Sunday’s game (2:05 p.m.) is the first of six Cactus League games to be broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago with Jason Benetti and Steve Stone and marks the Sox debut of radio voice Len Kasper (with Darrin Jackson) on ESPN 1000.

Signed, sealed

One-year contracts with 22 players were announced, bringing the entire 40-man roster under contract for this season. The list:

Pitchers Zack Burdi, Dylan Cease, Jimmy Cordero, Garrett Crochet, Bernardo Flores Jr., Matt Foster, Codi Heuer, Tyler Johnson, Michael Kopech, Jimmy Lambert, Jose Ruiz and Jonathan Stiever, catchers Collins, Mercedes and Zavala, infielders Jake Burger, Nick Madrigal, Danny Mendick and Gavin Sheets and outfielders Micker Adolfo, Luis Gonzalez and Blake Rutherford.

The biggest salaries in the group of mostly major-league minimums are for Cease ($600,000), Cordero ($590,000) and Heuer and Foster ($585,000).

Fans in the stands

Thirteen of 14 Cactus League games are sold out (with a protocol-limited 2,400 at Camelback Ranch), including Sunday’s opener, and while the Sox are selling tickets for the regular season, they’re awaiting clearance from the city of Chicago and health experts to allow fans to attend. There’s optimism, but the Sox are waiting for the green light.

“We have been talking to city and state officials regarding COVID-19 since last March, and those conversations continue,” Sox vice president for communications Scott Reifert said. “We share the same objectives — the health and safety of Chicagoans and White Sox fans. One lesson we learned last season was baseball is better with fans in the stands, and we look forward to when it will be safe to welcome fans back to the ballpark.”

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