The Los Angeles Dodgers saw the return of starting shortstop Corey Seager in Thursday’s Freeway Series opener, and they should get another regular back in the lineup before heading south to open the 2016 season against the San Diego Padres.
“If everything goes well, Yasmani (Grandal) will be on our Opening Day roster and he’ll catch the second game of the season,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said on Thursday. Grandal was bothered by forearm soreness throughout Spring Training, and hasn’t played in a Major League game since March 21.
Grandal went one week between appearing in Cactus League games, then only managed to play two innings in the second game of a back-to-back before getting removed due to the lingering soreness. An MRI on Grandal’s right forearm didn’t reveal any structural damage.
However, he was limited last weekend to defensive work and catching bullpen sessions without throwing the ball back to the pitcher. Grandal played in a Minor League game at Camelback Ranch on Thursday, catching five innings, slugging one home run and throwing out a would-be base stealer.
He’s scheduled to catch again Friday morning. “[Grandal] said after catching five innings he felt good. We passed the test [Thursday], and [Friday] is another test as he continues to progress,” Roberts said. “He’s going to join us in Anaheim, where he’ll catch for five innings,”
Grandal hit .375/.412/.688 with one home run, two doubles and three RBIs in 17 plate appearances over eight Cactus League games this spring. While Roberts expects the 27-year-old catcher to be on the active roster at the start of the regular season, A.J. Ellis will catch Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day.
Grandal underwent arthroscopic surgery in October on the AC joint in his left shoulder that he’s recovered from without issue.