Yasmani Grendel had not pitched for the Chicago White Sox since June 11.
The catcher, understandably, was hooked. His return from the injured list on Friday. When the Sox played the Cleveland Guardians at Guaranteed Rate Field.
“I think in the fourth inning I was still shaking,” Grendel said before Saturday’s doubleheader. “I was just too nervous (on Friday). That was a plus for me.”
Grandal’s return is a plus for the Sox, as Saturday showed: He had three hits and one RBI in a 7-4 loss in Game 1, then a key walk during a two-run eighth inning. went for 3-1 with 5-4 victory in Game 2.
Sox manager Tony LaRosa cited the spark that Grandal gave the team when the catcher returned from injury last season — slashing .337/.481/.673 in 30 games — to get him ready Saturday. Seeing
“He was really productive,” La Russe said after Game 2 on Saturday. “Professional hitter from both sides.”
Grendel, who did not play in Sunday’s series finale, is 4-11 (.364) with two RBIs and a walk in his first three games since being reinstated.
Overall, Grendel has a .196/.300/.245 slash line with two homers and 17 RBIs in 53 games. He hit five straight before the injury, including two two-hit games. He exited on June 11 after a single to right. in the third inning against the Texas Rangers with a then-diagnosed left hamstring strain.
Grandal went on the injured list on June 12 with lower back pain. He appeared in nine rehab games with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, going 9-for-25 (.360) with two home runs, five RBI, 13 walks and five runs scored.
“In Birmingham, it definitely took me a few days,” Grendel said. “Obviously all those young guys see a big league rehab guy and they just want to start firing at him. It took me a few days to get the swing going from the left side. But once I got it, It was pretty much a done deal. And then all of a sudden, I hadn’t seen Lyft in 3½ weeks and it took a few more days in Charlotte. But once I got it, it was good to go.
“The focus was on the rehab assignment to feel good, not to back off or anything like that. (Friday) For me individually, I was talking to umpire Dean (Balino) behind the plate, and I would tell him. I’m just hoping to get healthy from this game. That’s what I’m looking for. It’s getting that mental block out of the way and letting things flow.”
Grendel caught on Friday and was the designated hitter in both games on Saturday. It remains to be seen how often Grendel is behind the plate in his return debut.
“The difference from the rehab assignment to being here now is that everything is planned out, so you know exactly what you’re doing,” Grandal said. “Then once you get into (big league) games it’s a little different because you don’t know how the lineup is going to play out or you don’t know if you’re going to be DH-ing. or playing first. or catch.
“I’m sure he’d like to get (Jose Abreu) some DH days. Maybe I’ll get a few days first. Maybe those days are off days for me. I’m planning on catching as much as possible. . Because I have to get back into a rhythm and I only had three games behind the plate in Triple-A. Everything else was either DH or first base. To get back into a rhythm behind the plate, I had to be there for a long time. Will have to come back.
Grandal believes that streak can be extended as the Sox win five of their last six before the All-Star break. They bounced back after dropping their first two after the break to the Guardians to win the last two of the series. He wrapped a part The Sox went 10-9 on a 19-game streak against American League Central opponents.. They are .500 at 48-48.
“Those guys finished the first half very strong,” Grandal said. “You saw what they did in Cleveland, you saw what they did in Minnesota. There are another (66) games we have to worry about. If we take care of that, I think at the end of the day we’ll be where we want to be.
“It doesn’t matter if you go in as a division winner or a wild card. You need an opportunity to have a shot at the real goal, which is getting that World Series.