Last month the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox lost stalwart catcher Yasmani Grandal to a knee injury. He’s expected to miss 4-6 weeks, meaning he should return in plenty of time for the postseason.
The ChiSox called up rookie Seby Zavala to replace Grandal on the roster and take over as the backup catcher behind Zack Collins. Saturday night against Cleveland (CLE 12, CWS 11), Zavala had the best game of his young career. The 27-year-old hit his first career home run. And his second. And his third, too. Zavala slugged three homers in his 18th career game.
Here’s the video of Zavala’s big night. He sandwiched a grand slam between two solo homers.
Zavala did get a chance at a fourth home run in the eighth inning, though he settled for a single to go 4 for 4 on the night. He scored four runs and drove in six.
According to MLB.com’s Sarah Langs, Zavala is the first player to hit his first three career home runs in the same game in American League or National League history. It’s unclear whether a player ever accomplished the feat in the Federal League or the Negro Leagues, the other major leagues.
A 12th round pick in 2015, Zavala made his MLB debut with the White Sox back in 2019. He played in five games that year, then spent last season at the alternate site before joining the club when Grandal got hurt last month. Going into Saturday, Zavala had been 5 for 40 (.125) with 22 strikeouts in his big league career.
Zavala is the second rookie with a three-homer game this season, joining Orioles DH Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle went deep three times against the Blue Jays on June 19. Merv Connors (1938) and Bill Melton (1969) are the only other rookies in White Sox history with a three-homer game.