The White Sox announced they’ve placed catcher Yasmani Grandal on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 12, due to lower back spasms. Coming off the IL to take his active roster spot is starter Lance Lynn, who is in line to make his season debut. In order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Lynn — who had been on the 60-day IL — the club has placed reliever Ryan Burr on release waivers.
Grandal missed yesterday’s game against the Rangers because of a left hamstring issue, but the back spasms diagnosis comes as a surprise. Chicago selected Seby Zavala to the MLB roster yesterday as insurance, and he figures to back up Reese McGuire for as long as Grandal is out. The two-time All-Star will be eligible to return by the middle of next week, but the team has yet to provide any sort of timetable for his recovery.
Even prior to the injury, the 2022 campaign has been a nightmare for Grandal. Typically one of the game’s best offensive catchers, the 33-year-old has had a very rough first couple months of the season. Over 201 plate appearances, he’s hitting .185/.294/.237 with just a pair of home runs. Grandal is still drawing walks at an excellent 13.4% clip, but he’s collected only five extra-base hits all year as his batted ball quality has plummeted. It’s a rather shocking downturn for a player who hit .240/.420/.520 in 93 games last season, and the IL stint will perhaps afford Grandal an opportunity for a mental reset as he searches for his previous form.
McGuire, acquired from the Blue Jays just before Opening Day, hasn’t made much of an offensive impact either. He’s hitting .235/.280/.286 in 110 trips to the plate in a Chicago uniform, a step back from the .253/.310/.343 mark he posted in Toronto last year. A left-handed hitter, he’ll pair with the righty-swinging Zavala to form the catching tandem for manager Tony La Russa for now.
Lynn is listed as the probate starter for tonight’s game against the Tigers. La Russa suggested yesterday he’d likely be activated on Tuesday, but he’ll take the ball for the first time a day earlier than anticipated. The 35-year-old righty has been out all season after undergoing right knee surgery in April, but he’s now ready to get back on the hill. That should be a notable boost for a Chicago team that owns a disappointing 27-31 record, as Lynn has been one of the game’s most effective arms over the past couple years. He tossed 157 innings of 2.69 ERA ball last season, earning a two-year contract extension in the process.
Burr, meanwhile, could be seeing his time in the organization come to a close. A Diamondbacks draftee, he was acquired by the ChiSox as a minor leaguer in 2017 and reached the bigs a season later. He’s suited up at the MLB level in each of the past four years, making 66 appearances. The righty has a 4.08 ERA across 75 innings, including an excellent 2.45 mark through 36 2/3 frames a season ago. However, he’s posted a mediocre 20.6% strikeout rate and an elevated 12.2% walk percentage during his MLB tenure.
It seems the primary impetus for Burr’s release, however, is a health issue. The 28-year-old has been on the minor league injured list for the past couple weeks with an undisclosed injury. Players on the MiLB IL still count against a team’s 40-man roster, but injured players cannot be placed on outright waivers. To take Burr off the 40-man roster, Chicago either had to release him or recall him and place him on the MLB 60-day IL. The latter course of action would’ve required paying him a major league salary, however, and the Sox have decided they’d rather expose him to waivers.
While Burr hasn’t missed many bats at the MLB level, he’s induced grounders on more than half the balls in play against him and averaged around 95 MPH on his fastball. That could intrigue another team enough to grab him and stash him on their 40-man roster or major league injured list. If Burr clears waivers, he’d be a free agent.