When the Los Angeles Dodgers traded Matt Kemp to the San Diego Padres in December 2014, they lost the threat of a power bat in the middle of their lineup. However, the Dodgers’ primary return was switch-hitting catcher Yasmani Grandal.
The then-26-year-old figured to help make up some of the offensive production lost, while also bringing strong defensive skills behind the plate. However, there were some who were skeptical of Grandal given his 50-game PED suspension in 2013 and reconstructive ACL surgery later that same season.
Additionally, it was reported Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Tyson Ross all preferred to work with Rene Rivera instead of Grandal.
During his first season with the Dodgers, Grandal was nothing short of impressive. He quickly established a strong rapport with the pitching staff and packed some punch at the plate.
Grandal had a strong first half of the 2015 season with the Dodgers, batting .282/.401/.526 with 14 home runs, 36 RBIs and 42 walks.
At the All-Star break he led all catchers with a .401 on-base percentage, .927 on-base plus slugging percentage, and was second with 14 home runs. He was named to the All-Star Game for the first time in his career.
However, Grandal slumped through the second half due to a nagging left shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. He’s recovering well from the operation, but is now dealing with a right arm contusion, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Grandal has right arm contusion. Needs couple days off. Might play Monday.
— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) March 11, 2016
Grandal has appeared in four Spring Training games, last playing in Wednesday’s contest against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Tempe Diablo Stadium. He spent much of the offseason rehabbing his shoulder injury at the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch Spring Training facility.
Grandal was cleared to swing a bat from both sides of the plate in January and hasn’t shown any ill-effects as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. He finished last season batting .234/.353/.403 with 16 home runs, 47 RBIs, 92 strikeouts, 65 walks, a .335 wOBA and 115 wRC+ in 115 games.