Yasmani Grandal has been a nice bright spot for the out-of-contention Padres since taking over the everyday catcher job from Nick Hundley one month ago, but he’s now likely headed for an extended absence.
According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, Grandal left tonight’s game against the Reds with a right oblique strain. He suffered the injury while swinging the bat in the second inning.
The injury is a tough break for the 23-year-old backstop, who is hitting an impressive .312 (24-for-77) with five home runs, 15 RBI and a .947 OPS through his first 24 games in the majors. John Baker will likely handle most of the playing time behind the plate during his absence, as Hundley is currently sidelined in the minors with a hamstring injury.
Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.
Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.
Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.