Grandal appeared in 128 games for the Padres in 2014 after being limited to just 28 games in 2013 after tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee on a play at the plate against the Washington Nationals on July 6. A year and a half later, Grandal believes his knee is finally back healthy.
“It’s 110 percent,” he said at Dodgers Fan Fest on Saturday. “That’s the reason why I went to the Dominican Republic to make sure it was right, and you know, I think I showed over there that I was right, and I think that’s why so many teams started calling in afterwards.”
The newly acquired switch-hitting catcher was playing Winter Ball in the Dominican Republic when he learned of the Dodgers interest in him. Shortly after Grandal learned that he and two prospects had been traded to the Dodgers in exchange for Kemp and catcher Tim Federowicz.
In 2014, all of Grandal’s 15 home runs came from the left side of the plate and he batted just .162 from the right side, clearly still being affected by the right knee injury.
“I think the last time I hit a home run righty was 2013 and as soon as I started playing in the Dominican I probably hit one of the furthest home runs I hit last year from the right-handed side. So that gave me a confidence boost and I feel great. I’ve been hitting righty, I’ve been throwing, I’ve been doing all my footwork and, you know, it just feels like I’m back at it again like it was before.”
The Cuban backstop will likely start the season in a platoon with A.J. Ellis behind the plate, but Grandal’s lifetime .763 OPS and superb pitch-framing ability may fair well for him compared to Dodger catchers who batted a combined .181 last season.