White Sox could ride out Yasmani Grandal’s absence with inexperienced catching tandem

When Grandal will return from his knee injury is unknown, but he is ‘moving around well’ two weeks after surgery.

SHARE White Sox could ride out Yasmani Grandal’s absence with inexperienced catching tandem
White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito said he is comfortable throwing to catcher Zack Collins.

White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito said he is comfortable throwing to catcher Zack Collins.

Nam Y. Huh/AP

Whether the White Sox choose to ride out catcher Yasmani Grandal’s knee injury without a veteran addition before the trade deadline will be decided between now and July 30. But manager Tony La Russa pointed to the Sox’ pitching of late as a case for standing pat with Zack Collins and Seby Zavala.

‘‘The record from the day Yas got hurt till today speaks for itself,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘Especially the quality of the pitching.’’

The Sox’ 9-5, come-from-behind victory Tuesday against the Twins at Guaranteed Rate Field was their ninth victory in 11 games since Grandal’s injury. Pitchers’ ERAs are just one barometer of a catcher’s game-calling and handling skills, especially over a small sample size, but it’s worth noting Sox pitchers have a 2.07 ERA in Zavala’s six starts.

Whether general manager Rick Hahn swings a deal for a veteran catcher remains to be seen. Just how long the Sox are expecting to wait for Grandal, who had knee surgery two weeks ago but already is throwing, hitting in the cage and doing other light work, might factor into the decision.

‘‘He’s moving around real well,’’ said coach Jerry Narron, who oversees the Sox’ catchers. ‘‘I’ve been really surprised how well Yas is moving. I don’t even know about the timetable. When they say he’s ready to do baseball activities, we’ll get after it.’’

In the meantime, Collins and Zavala are sharing arguably the most important defensive position on the field. Called up from Triple-A Charlotte when Grandal went down, Zavala caught left-hander Dallas Keuchel on Tuesday. Collins, who was the designated hitter, is slated to catch right-hander Dylan Cease on Wednesday. Sox pitchers have a 3.80 ERA with Collins (Grandal is at 3.54).

Right-hander Lucas Giolito and left-hander Carlos Rodon have said they are comfortable throwing to Collins, who has caught 62 games in his career, including Rodon’s no-hitter in April. Zavala caught the combined one-hitter of Rodon, Michael Kopech and Liam Hendriks on Sunday.

‘‘He’s very, very prepared,’’ Narron said of Zavala. ‘‘He knows what a catcher’s job is — for us to get the most out of a pitcher that night. He does a fantastic job. He takes a lot of pride in calling a good ballgame.’’

Zavala caught five innings of two-run ball from Keuchel on Tuesday. After Kopech allowed a home run to Josh Donaldson leading off the sixth that trimmed the Sox’ lead to 4-3, he struck out four consecutive batters. He then walked two and was rescued by left fielder Brian Goodwin’s diving catch of a sinking liner by Nelson Cruz.

After right-hander Ryan Burr surrendered the lead by giving up two runs in the eighth, the Sox answered with five runs in the bottom of the inning. Pinch hitter Andrew Vaughn drove in Adam Engel with a tying single, Billy Hamilton ripped a go-ahead single and Jose Abreu hit a three-run homer. Abreu also doubled and tripled, collecting four RBI and scoring three runs.

‘‘[The game] had so many twists,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘We had good at-bats. Vaughn, Billy and the first baseman [Abreu] does what he does. So many guys came through for us.’’

Narron doesn’t seem completely comfortable with two catchers with such limited experience, but he said: ‘‘They’ll both be prepared. We’ll see what happens with them.

‘‘The catching position is like all 26 spots. If the general manager thinks he can make a deal to make the club better, he’s going to do that. But if not, we’ll do everything we can with what we’ve got. I’m happy with them. They do a real good job.’’

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