Yasmani Grandal on his Negative Relationship with Padres Pitchers

by Marty Caswell

Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal made his first return to Petco Park on Friday since the blockbuster five-player trade that sent Matt Kemp and Tim Federowicz to the Padres.

Over the course of the 2014 season, it was no secret in Padres circles that Grandal had fallen out of favor with several of his starting pitchers, including Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy.

As Fox Sports’ MLB Insider Ken Rosenthal astutely pointed out last month, Grandal didn’t start behind the plate after July 18th when any of those three were on the mound. That speaks volumes, considering that Grandal was considered a much better-hitting catcher on an offensively challenged team and that those starts went to backup catcher Rene Rivera, since traded to Tampa as part of the Wil Myers trade. (A lot to track, I know).

Grandal said he loved the fresh start with the Los Angeles Dodgers and shrugged when asked about falling out of favor with the Padres pitchers.

“I thought my relationship was fine. Obviously some of them didn’t feel the same way. Nobody really came up to me and kind of tried to guide me to work or say something else, but at the same time, I thought I was fine so nobody really talked to me so the communication wasn’t there. Obviously that’s one of the reasons we parted ways.”

Clayton Kershaw has spoken glowingly of Grandal’s work ethic as have several of his teammates, but Grandal said that part of his game and work ethic has never changed.

“It’s always been the same, I’ve never changed. It just so happens when I did it here in San Diego, nobody really saw that. Probably the front office was the only people that would see me here at 9:00 working out every day and then going through the scouting report and then going home and coming back at 1. It’s the same routine, it hasn’t changed. I’m just glad that someone’s actually seeing the work I’m putting into it because I do like to work.”

Considered the biggest piece of the Mat Latos trade with the Cincinnati Reds that also sent Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger to San Diego, it’s accurate to state that Grandal’s Padres career was a complete disappointment, mired by injuries, an embarrassing PED suspension and a brashness that rubbed his teammates the wrong way.

But a happy, fit Grandal welcomes his new chapter with the Los Angeles Dodgers and smiled broadly when asked about their clubhouse culture,  displaying shiny new braces that made him look about 17 years old.

“I love the fresh start.”



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