Yasmani Grandal Back On The Padres

Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

After serving out his 50 game suspension, 24 year old catcher Yasmani Grandal will rejoin the Padres today.

The Padres need some sort of help to stop the bleeding. The team has lost five of its last 6 games and while the pitching staff is the main issue (they are hemorrhaging runs at 6.5 per game over the last six games), the hitting could use a boost as well to keep up with the opposition's onslaught. Specifically, the hitting that comes from the catchers. Maybe Yasmani Grandal can help.

Since the start of May Padres catchers are 11 for 77. That rounds up to a robust .143 batting average. No home runs, no triples, no stolen bases and only 6 walks, 3 HBPs and 2 doubles. That comes to a slick .229 OBP for May and a hearty .169 slugging percentage. Yeah, it's pretty awful. Almost makes you pine for the days of Rob Johnson.

Grandal spent the last week and a half on a 10 day rehab assignment with the Tucson Padres, which is the maximum such stint allowable by the collective bargaining agreement for players serving a 50 game suspension. During that time he tried to show that he could still hit while staying off of PEDs. A .303/.342/.389 triple slash line doesn't scream savior, but it does suggest that he can still hit a baseball even if the power isn't quite there yet this year. Last year with the Padres Grandal put up a juiced .297/.394/.469. That kind of production may never happen again (in fact, even without the drugs and suspension it might have had some beginner's luck attached to it), but some of that potency would help out an offense that has effectively (or, rather ineffectively, am I right?) been carrying an anchor at the catcher's position for the last 28 days.

Even with the return of Grandal, it's probably not yet time to give up on Nick Hundley completely. He has been a consistent Padres clubhouse presence since 2008, longer than any player sans Chase Headley. He also has a contract that runs through the end of the 2014 season. I actually think that bringing in Grandal may help the Friar veteran.

For his career Hundley has 1493 plate appearances. 426 of those plate appearances have come against left handed pitching. This is unfortunate for Hundley since he is useless against left handing pitching. This is backwards from most hitters who typically hit opposite handed pitching better than same handed, but Hundley struggles when his right handed bat faces a southpaw. Last year, the Padres traded for John Baker, who has been Hundley's backup. This has been less than ideal because Baker is left handed and is better when facing right handed pitching. So, you end up with two hitters that are essentially dead weight when a hurler releases from the first base side.

Enter switch hitter Yasmani Grandal. He mashes lefties. In his small trial last year he had 8 extra base hits in 59 plate appearances against them. That's basically a double or a home run every other game when facing southpaws. Then you add in the 5 walks and 8 singles he had. He also hits righties better than Hundley, but the point is that Grandal can face all the lefties and Hundley can face only righties (either as backup or starter). Essentially, Hundley's biggest offensive weakness is removed from his game.

Bud Black has said that Grandal will catch today and bat 6th. The Padres are facing a right handed pitcher.

John Baker was optioned to AAA Tucson to make room on the active 25 man roster. To make room on the 40 man roster injured 3B Edinson Rincon was designated for assignment. Rincon is a no field, all hit 3B who had been working in the outfield a little before the injury. He has some value as a prospect when healthy, but the injury and the bad defense made him expendable. He will stick around with the organization if no other team puts a waiver claim on him.

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