White Sox’ Yasmani Grandal progressing well after knee surgery
“It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be,” Grandal said Saturday. “I didn’t think I was going to come back this fast.”
MILWAUKEE — The White Sox’ injury news has been awful. Their recovery news has been much better.
Word from catcher Yasmani Grandal on Saturday that he is progressing well from surgery 17 days ago to repair a torn tendon in his left knee was the latest upbeat report from what has been a trainer’s room of doom and gloom this season.
Grandal said team surgeon Nikhil Verma told him the fastest recovery was three weeks, which Grandal made his goal. While knowing that’s not realistic, Grandal is running well and doing other light work and expects to be hitting and catching pitchers’ bullpen sessions soon. Getting into a crouch won’t be an issue, he said.
‘‘It wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be,’’ Grandal said. ‘‘I didn’t think I was going to come back this fast. I felt like I would have way more soreness. So far, so good.’’
No one with the Sox, including Grandal, is projecting a target date yet, but a return by mid-August seems reasonable.
‘‘To see him move around, we never would have expected this kind of improvement,’’ manager Tony La Russa said. ‘‘So it’s exciting.’’
It was the latest encouraging news for the Sox, who have been reeling from injuries since left fielder Eloy Jimenez tore his left pectoral muscle and outfielder Adam Engel tore his hamstring during spring training. Gold Glove center fielder and 2020 Rookie of the Year runner-up Luis Robert tore his right hip flexor May 2, and neither Robert nor Jimenez seemed to be a lock to return this season.
But Jimenez is expected back from Triple-A Charlotte as early as this week, and Robert is at High-A Winston-Salem for his rehab assignment. And now Grandal, an All-Star candidate before he got hurt, is coming along well for a team enjoying a healthy lead in the American League Central.
‘‘Forget about me; just having Eloy back is huge,’’ Grandal said. ‘‘Seeing that Luis is on his assignment and doing good, he’s huge. You get two big bats back, and the team is going to be full now. Hopefully those guys get hot at the right time. They can carry a team into the postseason.’’
Jimenez is swinging the bat as though he’s ready to join the team now, and Robert, who began playing Wednesday, is moving and running well, La Russa said.
‘‘So far, all positive,’’ La Russa said. ‘‘The initial first steps are good.’’
Grandal was hurt July 5. The Sox said he would be out four to six weeks.
‘‘I don’t look so far ahead to where, ‘Hey, I want to be in uniform playing on this date,’ ’’ Grandal said. ‘‘Just because of the what-if. You never know what’s going to happen. I like to know what I’m doing for this week, what I’m doing this day, the next day. Concentrate on that week, and we’ll look ahead after that week is done.’’
Grandal, whose value is notable despite a .188 batting average, has walked 60 times to boost his on-base percentage to .388. He also has a .436 slugging percentage, an .824 OPS and 14 home runs in 63 games. He is in the second year of a four-year, $73 million contract.
Grandal’s backups are inexperienced, but the Sox can afford to be patient with him, as well as with Jimenez and Robert, because of their cushion in the division. But there is a balance there, La Russa said.
‘‘You’ve got to be careful about being too patient and sending the wrong message to your team about the urgency of winning games now and keep accumulating wins,’’ he said. ‘‘On the flip side, you can . . . risk guys before they’re ready. The balance to be the most sensible is when they’re ready, they play.’’
With an eye on the prize.
‘‘The postseason is where it counts,’’ Grandal said. ‘‘We want to make a deep run.’’