When first acquired from the San Diego Padres, no one knew what to expect from catcher Yasmani Grandal.
Being traded for a fan favorite among the Los Angeles Dodgers faithful, Matt Kemp, Grandal was sure to be heavily criticized from the beginning, especially if he didn’t produce. After the first month of the season, the Cuban catcher was hitting just .189 with one home run and plenty of skeptics. Since then, he’s hit .307 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs in 72 games, and has helped solidify the middle of the order.
Grandal has grown accustomed to his days off being against left-handed pitchers, as A.J. Ellis has received a bulk of the starts with a southpaw on the mound. In just 40 at-bats, Grandal is hitting .350 against left-handers, but no home runs and just two RBIs. A demanding position like catcher requires at least one day off a week, so manager Don Mattingly has decided to make that against lefties.
So with a right-hander on the mound on Thursday evening, it was strange to see Grandal’s name out of the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly answered that question before Thursday night’s matchup. “A little sore shoulder, his non-throwing shoulder,” the Dodgers skipper said.
“We were trying to get to the lefty, but I don’t want it to get where it affects his swing. When it got close to that, we said we better give him a day.”
The 26-year-old has missed some time with a concussion and a bruised jaw, but has been pretty durable this season. He’s provided solid work behind the plate, namely his framing skills. Many pitchers have also complimented his preparation and game-calling.
Mattingly wasn’t able to say for sure if Grandal would return to the lineup on Friday night. “We’ll see,” the 54-year-old said. “We got a lefty the next two days, so if it would be something that will linger, then we’re in a good spot for it.”