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Did you know that Therabody is the official recovery partner of the Chicago White Sox?
Do you think that Therabody should want people to know that?
Most White Sox highlight videos right now are preceded by the company’s 15-second ad, showing Tim Anderson (limited to 79 games this year due to groin strain, torn finger ligament) using the massage gun and Yoán Moncada (80 games, oblique strain, leg maladies) offering to return it.
Using the recovery device endorsed by the White Sox is like drinking the Church of Latter-Day Saints’ favorite whiskey. The best-case scenario is that they’ve never even opened the box.
Ironically, I came across the ad when looking for the video of Yoán Moncada flagging down Adley Rutschman’s flare to shallow left field. It was a fine effort sandwiched in between Moncada hobbling around after smothering a bunt so beautifully, and Moncada leaving the game because of hamstring tightness.
And by the end of the night, the White Sox would once again cover both ends of the injury mismanagement spectrum.
On one end, there’s Moncada exiting early despite showing the ability to still play the game effectively. On the other, you had Luis Robert trying to get his bat around on 102-mph Felix Bautista fastballs while his left hand attempts mutiny.
After the game, Robert made no attempt to disguise his discomfort.
This isn’t to say that Moncada should’ve joined Robert in toughing it out, or that he’s incapable of doing so. He played 144 games in 2021 despite being far from 100 percent most of the time, so I’m not inclined to think he’s a habitual malingerer. It could very well mean something when he leaves a game early.
But this is the third such instance of a disproportionate response to visual discomfort in the past week. The Sox had Eloy Jiménez leaving the batter’s box after one awkward twist while Leury García collapsed every other swing over the course of multiple games, following by Michael Kopech staying in the game to throw in the high-80s. The White Sox are seemingly half Glass Joes and half Black Knights, and while one is more admirable than the other, one is not meaningfully more effective.
The White Sox lack a governing body over the conditions of their bodies, which is emblematic of a greater erosion of standards. Following up on the conversation in the comments a few days ago about the fights between Tony La Russa and Jimmy Piersall, Jon Greenberg pulled out a relevant passage from a Piersall book published in 1984.
“LaRussa (sic) was so protective of his ball players that he defended (Greg) Luzinski the next day,” Piersall wrote. “No matter what, it couldn’t be a player’s fault. It was Harry or me who was the problem, he would say. He’d find some cock-and-bull excuse for his player and then rant about how we were maligning his wonderful players. Well, he said that the reason Luzinski didn’t really run it out was that his hamstring was bothering him and that he — LaRussa — had instructed Luzinski to take it easy so as not to aggravate the injury. What bullshit. A couple of innings later, when Luzinski doubled to drive in the winning run, he didn’t dog it. He ran like hell. And what kind of managing would it be to put an injured player in a game and then tell him to take it easy, don’t bother hustling? Pure unadulterated bullshit. But that’s the way it was with LaRussa, a million excuses and a hurt little boy when someone said one of his players loafed or goofed up.”
Maybe it worked with La Russa’s other teams because he was more vital in other ways. Maybe his subsequent rosters were too talented, or had established hierarchies that made his operations self-sufficient. Maybe Dave Duncan should be the Hall of Famer Baseball Person instead.
Whatever the root cause, the situation has deteriorated to the point where I can identify a favorite injury of the season. It’s Yasmani Grandal’s recent knee strain for the following reasons:
- A known structural issue reduced the surprise
- A specific and strange series of actions on the field caused it
- The prognosis was a pleasant surprise
- He’s starting a rehab stint on time
If he can return to the lineup in a reasonable amount of time and adequately share catching duties with Seby Zavala, I would like a “30 for 30” on the making of this particular miracle.