Aug. 21: The White Sox announced that further testing revealed “no acute damage to the ligaments, tendons or cartilage around the knee.” They diagnose the issue as “inflammation caused by the hyperextension of the knee” and say that Grandal should return to action in 10-14 days.
Aug. 20, 10:58PM: Grandal will be going on the injured list and Perez will be called up from Triple-A, manager Tony La Russa told reporters (including Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times).
10:27PM: The White Sox announced that Grandal left the game due to left knee discomfort, and the catcher is still being evaluated.
10:18PM: White Sox catcher Yasmani Grandal left Saturday’s game with an apparent left leg injury after a play at the plate. After Elvis Andrus singled in the seventh inning, Grandal was thrown out trying to score from second base, and seemed to hurt his knee on an awkward attempt to avoid the tag. Grandal had to be helped off the field, and didn’t return to the game.
More will be known about Grandal’s status after the game, yet it would certainly appear as though the veteran catcher will miss at least some time. Considering the calendar, anything beyond a minor injury could put the rest of Grandal’s 2022 season in jeopardy.
Grandal already missed five weeks due to back spasms earlier this season, and another significant injury would only add to a nightmarish year for the 33-year-old backstop. Limited to 287 plate appearances over 73 games, Grandal is hitting only .202/.307/.258, career lows in all three slash-line categories. His once-notable power has completely declined, with an Isolated Slugging statistic of only .056 (miles beneath the .211 ISO he carried over his first 10 seasons). While Grandal still has one of the league’s best walk rates, his lack of other production at the plate has made him a sub-replacement player, with a -0.2 fWAR.
As rough as Grandal’s season has been, the White Sox won’t be helped by the possible loss of their starting catcher as the team continues to battle for a playoff spot. Chicago dealt defensive specialist Reese McGuire to the Red Sox at the trade deadline, leaving Seby Zavala as the primary backup and now potential starter down the stretch. Zavala (who turns 29 later in August) has posted big numbers at Triple-A this season and has an above-average 108 wRC+ in 142 PA in the majors this season, hitting .281/.329/.398.
Nick Ciuffo and Raudy Read are the only other catchers in Chicago’s farm system with MLB experience. Neither are on the 40-man roster, and neither is Carlos Perez, a longtime member of the White Sox farm system who is hitting .259/.317/.448 with 17 homers for Triple-A Charlotte this season. In the event that Grandal misses some of all of the season, the Sox would have to turn to one of these options, or perhaps seek out the waiver wire or minor league trade route to land more catching depth.