Dodgers' Yasmani Grandal, with new gear and healthy shoulder, seeks fresh start

Yasmani Grandal received a shipment of new catcher’s gear designed to prevent the shoulder injury that dogged him in the second half of 2015. For this new season, he will wear chest protectors with pads on each shoulder, after a foul tip collided with his left shoulder last August and led to off-season surgery.

When the Dodgers pitchers and catchers reported to Camelback Ranch on Friday, Grandal entered the spring able to work without restrictions. He had already been cleared to swing from both sides of the plate. He felt minimal discomfort during drills.

“It’s just gotten better and better,” Grandal said. “As we go on, the more I hit, the more comfortable I’ll get.”

The fortunes of the lineup depend, in part, on whether several players can bounce back from the maladies that befell them last season. Joc Pederson tanked in the second half. Yasiel Puig never took flight. And Grandal cratered after he injured his shoulder.

A healthy Grandal would boost the Dodgers offense. He thumped 14 homers with a .927 on-base plus slugging percentage in an All-Star first half. After his injury on Aug. 6, Grandal hit .064 with only one extra-base hit.

Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts expressed optimism about Grandal’s progress.

“Talking to him yesterday, he feels good,” Roberts said. “And doing a lot of catching work and swinging the bat, he feels great. He’s kind of where he would expect to be at this time of year.”

No beef with White Sox over Montas

Andrew Friedman, the president of baseball operations, indicated there was no reason to complain to the White Sox after pitching prospect Frankie Montas underwent rib surgery last month. Montas was one of the players the Dodgers acquired in the three-team trade that sent All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier from Cincinnati to Chicago.

Montas suffered a stress reaction in his ribcage while working out this winter, Friedman explained. The injury did not improve as the season approached and last month Montas revealed the condition to the team’s trainers at its academy in the Dominican Republic. At that point, surgery to remove a rib was recommended and completed.

Montas will miss two to four months.

Still waiting on Sierra

Friedman expects only one latecomer to camp this spring. Cuban pitcher Yasiel Sierra is still dealing with visa issues, Friedman explained, but he hoped for a resolution by early next week.

“It’s just the visa process,” Friedman said. “My guess is it’s going to be at least a few days until he’s here.”

The Dodgers signed Sierra, a 24-year-old right-hander, to a six-year deal reportedly worth at least $30 million in January.

Coleman deal official

The Dodgers made official their one-year, $725,000 contract with Louis Coleman, a right-hander reliever who pitched sparingly for the Kansas City Royals in 2014 and 2015.

Ethier honored at Arizona State

Arizona State retired the number of Dodgers outfielder Andre Ethier before a Sun Devils game on Friday night. Ethier has been a regular for the Dodgers for the last 10 seasons. He was drafted in the second round by Oakland in 2003.

Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter: @McCulloughTimes

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
69°