JULY 7: Grandal underwent knee surgery to fix his torn tendon, FanSided’s Robert Murray reports (Twitter link). In an official statement from the White Sox, the team stated that surgery was required for Grandal after further examination by doctors. Grandal is still expected to play again in 2021, though the club’s statement mentioned that an “updated timeline” would come soon, so there could be some adjustment to the initial four-to-six week projection.
JULY 6: The White Sox announced they’ve placed catcher Yasmani Grandal on the 10-day injured list with a tendon tear in his left knee. He’s expected to miss four-to-six weeks. Fellow catcher Seby Zavala has been recalled from Triple-A Charlotte in a corresponding move.
Grandal has been nagged by left calf tightness in recent days, keeping him out of action over the weekend. He returned to the lineup last night but left early after hurting his knee on a check swing. Obviously, the new injury will lead to a significantly longer absence.
It’s another blow for the White Sox, who have also lost their presumptive starting left fielder (Eloy Jiménez), center fielder (Luis Robert) and second baseman (Nick Madrigal) for significant chunks of the season. Jiménez and Robert have been out for months after suffering injuries early in the year, while Madrigal was lost for the rest of the season after going down last month.
It’ll be tough for the Sox to replace Grandal’s production in the coming weeks. While the 32-year-old is only hitting .188, his power and incredible patience have made him a highly productive player. The switch-hitting backstop is reaching base at a fantastic .388 clip thanks to a league-best 24.4% walk rate. He’s popped 14 home runs (tied for third-most among catchers) en route to a decent .436 slugging percentage. Grandal has also earned a reputation as one of the game’s elite pitch framers in recent years, although Statcast suggests he’s only been average in that regard this season.
It now seems the Chicago catching situation will fall to the younger tandem of Zack Collins and Zavala. The recently-optioned Yermín Mercedes could also play his way into the mix, but the Sox were fairly reluctant to give him much time behind the dish when he was tearing the cover off the ball earlier in the year and have turned to Zavala before Mercedes in the immediate aftermath of Grandal’s injury. It’s possible they look to acquire a more experienced backstop from outside the organization before the trade deadline, but Chicago’s six-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central could give them enough confidence to roll with their in-house options until Grandal returns.