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.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.