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Notes: Injuries deemed minor; catchers meshing

@scottmerkin
February 12, 2020

GLENDALE, Ariz. – White Sox general manager Rick Hahn opened his press conference Wednesday with what he described as a “few housekeeping items” to begin Spring Training at Camelback Ranch. They were actually updates on some minor physical issues being dealt with by catcher Yasmani Grandal and starting pitchers Lucas

GLENDALE, Ariz. – White Sox general manager Rick Hahn opened his press conference Wednesday with what he described as a “few housekeeping items” to begin Spring Training at Camelback Ranch. They were actually updates on some minor physical issues being dealt with by catcher Yasmani Grandal and starting pitchers Lucas Giolito and Gio González.

“Everyone is going to be fine,” Hahn said. “We anticipate by Opening Day.”

Grandal felt a small tweak in his left calf while working out about one week ago, and after an MRI, was diagnosed with a mild strain. He did not run Wednesday, but was able to catch Dylan Cease’s bullpen.

“We have all this time on our hands,” Hahn said. “We can take a slower route with him and he likely won't appear in Cactus League games for about the first week.”

“What I actually wanted was not to run in Spring Training. I planned that well,” said Grandal with perfect deadpan delivery. “As you can see, I caught today and was fine. We’re going to take it day by day. We don’t need to rush now. We’re not really worried about Spring Training as much as the season. We’re going to be ready for the season and we’ll go from there.”

Spring Training FAQ, important dates

González was at home two or three weeks ago when he felt a little discomfort in his left (throwing) shoulder. The White Sox slowed him down and treated him and he reported Wednesday feeling great again, per Hahn.

“Due to the missed time, he's a little bit behind, as well,” Hahn said. “Likely also won't participate in the first week of spring games, but we anticipate him being ready to go when the bell rings come the end of March.”

Giolito dealt with a nasty case of the flu in January, causing him to miss SoxFest. He got very dehydrated, and when he tried to get back in the weight room and get throwing, things didn’t feel right. Hahn described the injury as a chest muscle strain near the rib cage, but when asked about his concern level for the injury, Giolito said “zero percent” with a broad smile.

“I was throwing out to 120 feet today and felt fantastic,” Giolito said. “It’s pretty much behind me. Just unfortunate with the flu, pretty bad timing.”

For the record, Giolito did get a flu shot during the offseason.

McCann ready to do whatever is asked

Catcher James McCann said all the right things Wednesday when asked about his surprise regarding the White Sox agreeing to a four-year, franchise-record $73 million deal with Grandal in November. But there was a little underlying and understandable frustration for McCann, who turned in an All-Star effort while doing a phenomenal job of guiding Giolito during his Cy Young-caliber season in ‘19.

“I guess you can say in this business there’s nothing that should surprise you,” McCann said. “There’s things you can control and things you can’t control, and the business side of things you can’t control.

“All you do is prepare to take care of yourself, as far as offseason preparations go, being ready for Spring Training, then Spring Training and getting ready for the season. And everything else is what it is.”

McCann, who will be a free agent after ’20, should form one of the top catching tandems in baseball through his work with Grandal. Hahn added McCann was great in the three offseason conversations they had, and is focused upon winning.

“We have two catchers that are two All-Stars, potentially,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “Having two guys who you can truthfully trust, and being able to manage the pitching, is a huge benefit to us and we're happy that we have these two guys to balance us out.”

“We’ve already begun talking about the stuff I use to prepare,” said McCann, of working with Grandal. “He’s never played in the American League Central, so I have a little bit more knowledge as far as facing the teams in our division. We’ll definitely be able to use each other and learn from each other and help each other prepare.”

They Said It

“It's Day 1. Let's hold off on cutting guys just yet.” -- Hahn on whether Michael Kopech will start the season with Triple-A Charlotte. He threw his first spring side session Wednesday.

“When you're in this level, everyone knows you can't be comfortable because there's a lot of people behind you that want the spot. I know what I need to do. I know my abilities and all the things I'm able to do. I'm just going to have confidence in myself and in my work and then we'll see what happens.” -- Reynaldo López, through interpreter Billy Russo, on having to battle to stay in the rotation after posting a 5.38 ERA in the 2019 season.

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin and Facebook and listen to his podcast.