McCann enters camp trying to make most of uncertain role234

  • Last season, James McCann was an all-star catcher for the Chicago White Sox. This year, McCann is facing reduced playing time after the Sox signed Yasmani Grandal, another all-star catcher.

    Last season, James McCann was an all-star catcher for the Chicago White Sox. This year, McCann is facing reduced playing time after the Sox signed Yasmani Grandal, another all-star catcher. Associated Press

Updated 2/12/2020 8:39 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- At the end of last season, the White Sox had an all-star catcher on the roster.

Heading into the new year, they now have two.


James McCann is back with the Sox after a breakout 2019, when he hit .273/.328/.460 with 18 home runs and 60 RBI in 118 games. After the '18 season, McCann was non-tendered by the Tigers.

The White Sox's original plan might have been to go with McCann and former first-round draft pick Zack Collins at catcher this year, but they couldn't pass up Yasmani Grandal.

Ranked as the No. 1 catcher in baseball by MLB Network, Grandal signed a four-year, $73 million contract in late November.

He slashed .246/.380/.468 with 28 homers and 77 RBI in 153 games for the Brewers last season while playing in his second All-Star Game. Grandal can also play first base and slide in at designated hitter, but there is no doubt he is the Sox's top catcher.

McCann said he'll make the best of the situation.

"I guess you can say in this business there's nothing that should surprise you," McCann said Wednesday at Camelback Ranch. "There are 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 off-season preparations go, being ready for spring training, then spring training and getting ready for the season. And everything else is what it is."

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Understandably perplexed by the thought of reduced playing time, McCann is not going to rock the boat. He is on a one-year, $5.4 million contract.

"We have two catchers that are two all-stars, potentially," manager Rick Renteria said. "You can't run a catcher out there every single day. You can't expect one guy's going to catch 162 games. It's not going to happen. 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."

Lopez looking forward:

Lucas Giolito had the highest ERA in baseball in 2018, and Reynaldo Lopez had the second highest (5.38) last season.

Like Giolito, Lopez worked on the mental side of his game during the off-season. He met with a sports psychologist in his native Dominican Republic and continued mental training at the Mamba Academy in Los Angeles while using the app Headspace.

"Everyone knows this game is more mental than physical," Lopez said through a translator. "I used to work on my body more than my mindset, but I changed that. I've been working more on my mind with a few people. I had some problems that I wanted to improve in that aspect. I made some changes to get my mind right for the season."

With Giolito, Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez and Dylan Cease already in the White Sox's starting rotation, Lopez is in danger of losing his job if Michael Kopech bounces back from Tommy John surgery.

"I'm going to keep doing my job and keep doing my best," Lopez said. "There isn't anything to fight for. When you're at this level, everyone knows you can't be comfortable because there are 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."


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