Grandal already training, plotting return to Sox lineup

/ by Vinnie Duber
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

MILWAUKEE — Is Yasmani Grandal a miracle of modern medicine?

Roughly two and a half weeks removed from surgery to repair a torn tendon in his knee, the Chicago White Sox catcher is running around, playing catch and setting what he's calling an "unrealistic" timeline for a return to the lineup.

"When I spoke to the doctor, he said the fastest a guy has come back is three weeks," Grandal said Saturday in Milwaukee. "But that's just me putting a very high, unrealistic goal so that if need be and I'm ready by three weeks, I'll be good to go.

"For me, that's a very unrealistic goal, but why not try and get it in three weeks? That doesn't mean I'm going to be in uniform in three weeks, just a personal goal."

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The way these injury recoveries are going for the White Sox banged-up stars, that unrealistic return date wouldn't be all that surprising. Eloy Jiménez seems to be on the verge of his return. Luis Robert has begun his rehab assignment. And now Grandal is up and moving around and talking about his own comeback, which the team has said is expected to come before the end of the regular season.

It all strikes as relatively good news considering how disastrous all three injuries seemed to be when they occurred, players being helped off the field and the diagnoses putting them on the shelf for months, potentially knocking them out of the White Sox championship chase.


Now, they seem ready to return as reinforcements and power a playoff run.

"Forget about me, just having Eloy back I think is huge. Eloy is a huge part of our offense, a huge part of our team. Seeing Luis is on his rehab assignment and doing good, another guy that's a huge part of our team," Grandal said. "Having those two guys? I've played enough, we just want to see those guys on the field.

"Every team does that at the trade deadline, you'll see a lot of teams making moves. I heard yesterday, it's kind of like our trade deadline to have those guys back, right? You get two big bats back in Eloy and Robert, guys who can play defense, the team is going to be full now and hopefully those guys get hot at the right time.

"Those two guys can really carry a team through the end of the season on to the postseason."

Undoubtedly, the returns of all three will be a boost unlike any other any team in baseball could make in the middle of a pennant race.

Of course, it remains to be seen what sort of versions of themselves they can be after significant injuries. Robert talked about testing out his leg and assessing his personal "fear factor" in running the way he's used to after tearing his hip flexor. Jiménez surprised by saying he feels better than ever after the surgery to repair a ruptured pectoral tendon.

Grandal, meanwhile, just had surgery on his knee, something that figures to be significant for someone whose job description requires four hours' worth of squatting every day.

But he assured Saturday that he'll be back and catching like normal in no time.

"It's got nothing to do with squatting," he said. "It's got everything to do with extension. I can be down in a squat just fine, move forward, back, side to side. It's more extension, more than anything.

"It's just a matter of getting back to playing mode. Once you get back into playing mode, bat speed is going to be there, recognition is going to be there. But I also understand we're going to be heading toward that last sprint and it's time to go.

"I'm confident I'll be close to where I was (at) the time I got hurt."

That's all great news for the White Sox, reinforcing the positive sight of just seeing their No. 1 catcher training pregame in the outfield.

What looked, repeatedly, like potential disaster for these White Sox — injuries that seemed to set up one impossible task after another for Rick Hahn ahead of the trade deadline — has turned into a late-summer surprise: three middle-of-the-order bats returning to boost what's already established itself as a championship-contending club.


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