Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal underwent surgery on his right ACL last August and the belief has been that he would require a season-opening disabled list stint. But the quick pace of his recovery is suddenly igniting some optimism in San Diego’s front office.
“He says he feels good and he certainly looks good,” Padres general manager Josh Byrnes told the San Diego Union-Tribune this weekend. “Opening Day is possible for him. But that day simply starts a six or seven-month process. We have to hold him back somewhat during spring training even if he feels 100 percent. We will monitor him during spring training.”
Grandal looked like a budding star in 2012 when he batted .297/.394/.469 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 60 games as a rookie, but he was busted for synthetic testosterone use at the end of the summer and the resulting 50-game suspension set the tone for a highly disappointing 2013.
Nick Hundley will start at catcher for the Friars if Grandal is not ready.
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas belted his 37th home run on Wednesday evening, setting a new club record for homers in a single season. Moustakas had been tied with Steve Balboni, who hit 36 home runs in 1985.
The home run came on a 2-0, 82 MPH slider from Blue Jays reliever Carlos Ramirez, boosting the Royals’ lead to 13-0 in the top of the sixth inning.
Moustakas, 29, entered the night batting .271/.313/.523 with 82 RBI and 71 runs scored in 560 plate appearances.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale recorded his 300th strikeout of the 2017 season on Wednesday night against the Orioles. The momentous occasion occurred with two outs in the eighth inning. Facing Ryan Flaherty, Sale threw a slider that caught the strike zone low and inside for called strike three.
Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strikeout 300-plus batters in a season in the last 15 years. Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson accomplished the feat in 2002, and Johnson also did it in 2001 and 2000. Pedro Martinez had been the only other Red Sox pitcher to have a 300-strikeout season.
Through eight scoreless innings, Sale limited the Orioles to four hits with no walks and 13 strikeouts. The Red Sox offense gave him plenty of run support. Mookie Betts and Devin Marrero each hit two-run home runs in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez added a two-run double in the sixth and Dustin Pedroia hit a two-run double of his own in the eighth to make it 8-0.