While early injuries sustained by Yasmani Grandal and company are not what White Sox fans were hoping to hear in the first week of spring training, there was some encouraging news from the pitchers and catchers down in Arizona.
Grandal came down with what was deemed a minor left calf strain on Wednesday. While he is not likely to miss much time the team may use the window to take a closer look at James McCann and Zack Collins to determine a primary backup. While none of the injuries are too extreme, it is a bit disheartening to see guys like Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, and Lucas Giolito with concerns just days into Spring Training.
Prior to the Grandal injury, Michael Kopech spoke with the media and had some great things to say about the catchers stating, “I think anyone in the league would probably be jealous of what we have to offer as far as guys behind the dish.” He then discussed the leadership role that both Grandal and McCann have and take very seriously, and how that has already had an impact on the pitchers.
Kopech highlighted not only the quality of leadership in both Grandal and McCann but the clear trust the pitchers have in both of them. Having strong leadership behind the dish as well as guys that can build a strong trust with the pitching staff is noteworthy, especially with Kopech returning, Gio Gonzalez and Dallas Keuchel joining the South Side, and a young Dylan Cease.
While bonds and built trust between pitchers and catchers may seem like a reasonable expectation or even a norm it is critical to the success of the team this year. For guys like Kopech and Cease to have such trust in their catchers already to the point where they can just relax and pitch, as Kopech told the media, is a very promising sign for the organization.
Obviously Grandal will miss some of that time to continue to build more of a bond with his pitchers, but the fact that he has already gained some legitimate trust with the pitching staff is encouraging.
While White Sox fans can be understandably frustrated with the injuries this early in Spring Training, the confidence that Kopech and the pitching staff have in Grandal and McCann is something not to be overlooked, and is something Sox fans can continue to get excited about.