GLENDALE, Ariz. — Yasmani Grandal’s Thursday included fielding bunts and participating in situational drills.
Friday, the White Sox catcher took swings against Michael Kopech and Dylan Cease in batting practice. And when he connected, he ran to first base.
It’s all part of the process of recovering from a mild left calf strain.
“It feels good right now,” Grandal said Friday. “We still have a few hurdles to get over. More mental than anything. For the most part it’s felt really good.
“The plan is still the same. We’re going to take it a day at a time and assess it and go from there.”
The two-time All-Star is making progress.
“In terms of strength, he’s feeling very, very well,” Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “All the measurements and metrics that are used to measure strength and endurance seem to indicate that he’s doing quite well. We’re happy to hear that.”
After signing a four-year, $73 million contract, the largest in franchise history, with the Sox in November, Grandal has been slowed by the calf injury this spring. He suffered the setback about 10 days before camp began.
“We were doing sprints, resistance sprints, and there could have been a lot of things,” Grandal said. “Could have been dehydration or just trying to go too hard. We can’t really pinpoint what it was. All we can do now is just get stronger so it doesn’t happen again.”
As for the timeline for playing in an exhibition game, Grandal said, “As of right now, we’re going to try everything out, in the back fields after practice, before we start.”
He is confident he will play in a Cactus League game.
“We have it planned out,” Grandal said. “We gave ourselves room to make sure I’m playing back-to-back days. Make sure I’m playing three days in a row. We gave some room for error.”
The work now is building toward that.
“That was one of the points that I was stressing to them: I need to make sure I’m able to play three days in a row,” Grandal said. “We need to make sure I’m catching at least seven innings on back-to-back days because if you catch seven, you can catch nine.”
Grandal has spent a ton of time connecting with his new pitching staff.
“I’ve got a lot of things I get to do outside of a game in order to still be involved,” he said. “We’re just going to take (the injury) one day at a time.”
The switch hitter also is getting his work done at the plate.
“I’ve been swinging,” Grandal said. “I’ve been hitting lefty, I’ve been hitting righty. I’ve been hitting live BP. Swinging is fine. What we are worried about is that quick movement off of it that could potentially do something to it. That’s some of the variables we’re trying to cover.”
Grandal joked that when it came to his cardio work, “I’m a catcher, I don’t need cardio.”
“Just kidding,” he added. “We’ve been running. It’s fine. I don’t think it has anything to do with cardio. It’s got everything to do with how you bounce back the next day. How is it recovering? And it’s been fine so far.”
Grandal knows it’s not easy to simulate moves that are made in a game.
“That’s why you’ve got to cover a lot of ground in order to get out to a game,” Grandal said. “And on top of that, it’s just being comfortable. Being comfortable pushing off of it and not really thinking about it. Because once you start thinking, you’re done.
“We’re close, but we’re still going to take it as slow as we can.”
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