While it seemed at one point he profiled as a trade candidate, Yasmani Grandal will enter the season expected to receive the bulk of the playing time behind the dish for the Dodgers, skipper Dave Roberts tells reporters including Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Grandal, 29, had been bypassed late last year by Austin Barnes, who turned in a breakout campaign in his first season of significant MLB action. Grandal still put up a quality overall season with the bat and has raked this spring, while Barnes has struggled at the plate in Cactus League action. Regardless, the organization seems to have an excellent tandem to work with.
Here’s more from the National League:
- Tim Britton of The Athletic (subscription link) examines the Mets’ pitching plans, focusing on the multi-inning capabilities of anticipated relievers Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman. Skipper Mickey Callaway explains that “to put a [starter] in the bullpen and all of a sudden start using him like a traditional reliever would be a mistake,” so there are elements of both need and opportunity in the approach that the organization seems to be lining up. The practicalities will also impact the precise way the staff is deployed, as Britton explores in detail, with Callaway emphasizing that it’ll ultimately be a process that unfolds as the season goes on with “constant communication” between coaches and pitchers.
- We’re still awaiting further word on the health of Phillies hurler Mark Leiter. As Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was among those to tweet yesterday, the 27-year-old has experienced forearm tightness, which can be a symptom of a worrying elbow issue. Leiter, who turned in 90 2/3 innings of 4.96 ERA ball in his debut season of 2017, is all the more important to the Philadelphia staff with Jerad Eickhoff sidelined to open the year.
- The Marlins are taking a look at a notable arm of their own, as Craig Mish of Sirius XM tweets that righty Dan Straily has been diagnosed with a “slight elbow strain.” In a subsequent announcement, the team called it “mild right forearm inflammation” and said Straily won’t throw for five or six days. (H/t MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro, via Twitter.) That said, Straily — who the Marlins held onto despite moving other veteran assets over the winter — may not be ready to open the season, which would leave a big hole in an already-patchworked Miami rotation. The Fish also announced today that young righty Sandy Alcantara has been optioned, so he’s evidently not in the plans for the early-season rotation. Roster Resource now predicts that Jacob Turner will claim a roster spot out of camp.