Created on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 Written by SCOTT BAIR,Associated Press
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Yasmani Grandal will miss the first 50 games of the regular season while serving a suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. San Diego's second-year catcher can still show the Padres what he'll be able to do once he is able to rejoin the team in late May.
With the Padres allocating playing time to those who can contribute right away, Grandal finally made a spring start and went 1 for 3 with a RBI single in a six-run fourth inning that led San Diego to a 7-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday.
"I know I'm not going to catch too often, and I have to take advantage of the time I get," Grandal said. "I've been doing workouts, but nothing can simulate a game. That's especially true for a catcher. From an offensive standpoint, it was nice to drive a run home and continue to work on my timing."
Grandal had two plate appearances Sunday as a reserve designated hitter, but Tuesday's three at bats and five innings behind the plate represent his first extended stretch of play.
These moments will be rare.
The Padres will defer playing time to starter Nick Hundley and backup John Baker as they prepare for opening day. Baker was scheduled to start Tuesday, but was scratched late due to what Padres manager Bud Black said was a sore wrist that should not be considered serious.
Grandal didn't hit all winter due to tendon strains in his left middle finger, although his timing is improving.
He is 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk this spring. He'll remain in Arizona while serving his suspension, but isn't allowed to play in a game until 10 days prior to reinstatement.
"It's good for Yasmani to get in the flow of things," Black said. "He'll get some at bats and we'll try to keep him current, within the mindset of getting players available to us at the start of the season ready."
Travis Buck, Alexi Amarista and Everth Cabrera also had RBI singles in big inning as San Diego had five consecutive hits, and Kyle Blanks and Chase Headley had sacrifice flies.
Padres second baseman Jedd Gyorko continued his torrid start with his third home run in 10 at bats as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning.
Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo was 1 for 2 with a RBI in the third inning. Homer Bailey was effective in one inning, one of the few highlights for the Reds. He struck out one, walked one and still needed just 15 pitches to get through the frame.
"It was short and sweet, but productive," Bailey said. "It doesn't do much good to sit idle; bullpens and live batting practice can get boring, so it's good to be able to go through your pregame routine like you would during the regular season."
Anthony Bass, who made 15 starts last season and is a contender for San Diego's rotation this year, pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut
NOTES: Padres RHPs Jason Marquis and Huston Street will make their spring debut on Thursday against Kansas City. Marquis will start and Street, the Padres' closer, will pitch an inning of relief. ... RHP Tim Stauffer, on the mend after August 2012 elbow surgery, faced live hitters on Monday and reported no soreness from the experience. ... RHP Andrew Cashner will pitch off a mound later this week, the first such exercise since injuring his thumb in an offseason hunting accident. ... Cincinnati LHP Aroldis Chapman will make his spring debut on Thursday against Colorado.