Yasmani Grandal wrapped up a round of batting practice Wednesday at Camden Yards by launching a baseball into the right-field seats.
The Chicago White Sox catcher continues to show progress after suffering a left knee strain Saturday against the Cleveland Guardians.
“I feel like we definitely dodged a bullet,” Grandal said before Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
The injury occurred in the seventh inning at Progressive Field when Grandal attempted to score from second on an Elvis Andrus single. Grandal, after trying to avoid the tag, was out at the plate and grabbed his left knee while falling to the ground.
He had to be helped off the field and went on the 10-day injured list Sunday.
“If my foot would have gotten stuck there, it would have probably been talking about a 12-month recovery all the way back to ACL surgery,” Grandal said.
Sox manager Tony La Russa called Grandal’s progress since then “amazing.”
Grandal is on pace to return when he’s eligible to be reinstated from the IL on Wednesday. He said he has done some running and hitting, with catching drills to come.
“I don’t know how, but the next day I was pretty sore and the day after that, there was still some muscle fatigue, but that’s what happens when you get that much force into a knee,” Grandal said. “But (Tuesday) and (Wednesday), it’s gotten better and better.”
Grandal is slashing .203/.307/.259 with three homers and 21 RBIs in 74 games this season. He was on the IL from June 12-July 22 with lower back spasms.
“I just take it as it comes right now,” Grandal said when asked generally about injuries. “Whatever happens, happens. I’ve never really taken care of myself as much as I’ve taken care of myself this year. So from now on, (forget) it. That’s pretty much the only way I can explain it. Want to go until it breaks and if it doesn’t break, then we keep going.”
Grandal was second on the team with 23 home runs last season. The power numbers haven’t been there for the team as a whole — they rank tied for 26th in the majors with 103 homers.
Speaking generally, La Russa said: “There isn’t anything that we’re doing good that we haven’t paid attention to and there ain’t anything in our offensive stats that aren’t what they should be that we’re not paying attention to.”
“When you’re struggling like that, you try too hard and the harder you try the worse you do. Problem is, it’s the big leagues. Either you do or you don’t, so it’s up to us to try and have them relax more and develop a better approach.
“But when you have that high a batting average and that many guys on base, and to have that productivity problem and the home run thing, that’s just one factor. You can win games with base hits. We’re giving it a lot of attention. Maybe that’s the problem — too much attention.”
The Sox lost Tuesday’s series opener 5-3, leaving 13 runners on base. Designated hitter Eloy Jiménez hit a two-run homer in the first but exited in the eighth with a left elbow bruise after getting hit by a 101.2-mph fastball from Félix Bautista.
He was not in the starting lineup Wednesday, but La Russa said there is a possibility Jiménez could return Thursday.
“Actually he came in (Wednesday) really good with a lot less swelling,” La Russa said. “(We) held the lineup for a couple of hours until he got his treatment, got in the cage and swung. So he is somewhat restricted, just not going to push it. But I think a good chance to play (Thursday). 100-mph fastball, could have been a lot worse. So I think we’re lucky.
“Our training staff got right on it, so I think they deserve a lot of credit.”
Sox to open 2023 season at Houston
Major League Baseball announced the 2023 regular-season schedule Wednesday. The Sox will open March 30 against the Astros in Houston. After the four-game series, the Sox head to Guaranteed Rate Field for their home opener against the San Francisco Giants on April 3. The regular-season finale is Oct. 1 against the San Diego Padres at home.