AJ Ellis, Yasmani Grandal

During the offseason the Los Angeles Dodgers acquired catcher Yasmani Grandal to fill in one of their weaknesses from the previous years: the catcher position. While Grandal had a great first half that resulted in him being named to the National League All-Star team, the 26-year-old has struggled in the second half while also dealing with a nagging shoulder injury.

Grandal posted a .282/.401/.526 slash line in the first half with 14 home runs and 36 RBIs. Those numbers showed Dodgers fans why the front office was willing to deal Matt Kemp for the young catcher. However, Grandal began experiencing shoulder pain during the month of August that resulted in a decline in his numbers.

With Grandal batting just .162 after the All-Star break, A.J. Ellis saw an increase in playing time. Ellis batted .255/.376/.459 during the second half. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly now has the tough decision of deciding who he will start in the playoffs. “Obviously, A.J. has been swinging the bat good down the stretch,” he said. “We feel comfortable with either guy. Yas is really good defensively in framing and blocking. I think you’ll see a mixture.”

When asked about Grandal’s shoulder, Mattingly says it has improved. “I would say it’s good. He’s not on the injury report as far as that now.”

However, Mattingly indicated Grandal’s not likely playing pain-free. “But that doesn’t mean he’s still not dealing with it in some way,” Mattingly added. “We don’t get every little thing like if he’s taking anti inflammatories for it or getting a little bit of treatment. The injury report is guys who are in danger a little bit, need rest or need a day off. Yas has not been on that for a while. I would say he’s pretty good, but also assume he’s probably dealing with something.”

It is important to note that the New York Mets are scheduled to start three right-handed pitchers in the National League Division Series. While it would appear as if that would give the switch-hitting Grandal the advantage, both catchers averaged .221 against right-handers this year.

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