Catcher Yasmani Grandal feeling, swinging better at White Sox spring training

“It feels good driving the ball the way I want,” Grandal said.

SHARE Catcher Yasmani Grandal feeling, swinging better at White Sox spring training
Yasmani Grandal at White Sox camp. (AP)

White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal works out during spring training Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, in Phoenix. (AP)

AP Photos

GLENDALE, Ariz. — It wouldn’t be spring training without fresh starts and reinvigorated bodies, many of them often said to be in the best shape of their lives.

Have a look at catcher Yasmani Grandal at White Sox spring training. The 34-year-old, who is coming off a season wracked by injured, sore legs and a .202/.301/.269 hitting line with only 12 extra-base hits in 376 plate appearances, might not be at his physical peak, but he had some bounce in his step in the first week of camp.

And that’s worth noting for Grandal, who is burying 2022 as deeply as he can.

‘‘I’m not talking about last season, by the way,’’ Grandal snapped when he was asked about last season. ‘‘We’ve already spoken about last year. So it’s a new year. Let’s talk about this year.’’

OK. It is spring training, after all. But feeling better doesn’t guarantee a bounce-back performance. The possibility of being healthy for all of it doesn’t rule one out, however.

‘‘It feels good driving the ball the way I want,’’ said Grandal, whom the Sox signed to a four-year, $73 million contract three years ago primarily for his offense and pitch-framing ability. ‘‘My legs are working the way I want.’’

Grandal said he went through more than 100 sessions during a rigorous offseason training routine. He invited reporters to watch him in Chicago, and one even did so. Camp opened Wednesday, but Grandal has been around for about two weeks and is operating at a high capacity, unlike he was last spring.

‘‘That’s a credit to him and what he did with his body,’’ manager Pedro Grifol said. ‘‘He’s putting in a full day’s work. He’s repping things out. I’m excited where he is right now.’’

Grandal attributed his limited power last season to weak legs. Early on in camp, however, he said he has been showing some pop during batting practice.

And it’s coming more easily, he said.

‘‘I don’t have to do too much,’’ Grandal said. ‘‘The difference from this year to last year is I had to try and swing, and it shouldn’t be that way. It should be effortless. It should feel like you’re not even trying to swing the bat, the bat is just going, which is how I’m feeling at this moment.’’

Grandal said he also has felt a difference in his crouch, in his ability to move behind the plate and in his running. And he’s recovering faster from the lengthy, rugged early days of camp, in which catchers do more daily physical work than anyone.

‘‘That’s why it helps out once you get to spring training,’’ he said. ‘‘You don’t have the body aches, the pains, nothing like that.’’

Grifol has liked what he has seen.

‘‘He’s able to get in positions this year that he wasn’t able to get in last year, body-wise,’’ Grifol said. ‘‘He’s working lower to the ground; he doesn’t have to get on a knee as much. So now we’re just fine-tuning the details.

‘‘He just wasn’t healthy last year, and now he is. He’s working his butt off.’’

The Latest
There are more than 30 food and beverage options in Grant Park through Sunday at the third iteration of Chicago’s largest Latin music festival.
Police told her they found marijuana in her bags, and it would have to be weighed, the rapper tweeted.
“If you’re asking me how to explain it to you, I don’t know how,” he said.
Topping Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s legislative agenda for the spring session was a health insurance reform package targeting so-called “junk plans” and step therapy.
A vehicle speeding Friday night in the 1600 block of West 59th Street ran a red light and struck two vehicles at the intersection, Chicago police said.