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.
Braves 21-year-old outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. nabbed his 30th stolen base of the season on Friday, becoming the second-youngest player in Major League history to produce at least 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in a single season. Per MLB Stats, the only other player under 22 years old to pull off the feat is Mike Trout, who did so with 30 home runs and 49 stolen bases during his age-20 season in 2012.
Acuña’s triumphant moment came in the eighth inning of Friday’s game against the Mets. He drew a six-pitch walk against righty reliever Seth Lugo, then waited for an opportune moment as Ozzie Albies stepped to the plate. Lugo fired a 93-m.p.h. fastball to Albies for ball no. 2, which was promptly returned to second base by catcher Wilson Ramos. The throw came in high, however; Amed Rosario had to jump to make the catch, allowing Acuña to slide safely into the bag and hit his career mark.
It’s been an eventful season for the All-Star outfielder, whose 36 home runs and 30 stolen bases helps pad a .294/.377/.536 batting line and 5.1 fWAR over 597 plate appearances. Through the first 11 innings of Friday’s contest, he went 0-for-3 with a pair of walks and a stolen base.