GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The San Diego Padres' top three starting pitchers preferred to work with another catcher, but Yasmani Grandal said he is determined to establish a good rapport with Clayton Kershaw and Co.
The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Matt Kemp for Grandal in December because they like his bat and highly value his ability to frame pitches, but getting Dodgers starters comfortable pitching to Grandal might take some time. Grandal caught Kershaw for the second time this spring Thursday, and the results were good this time. Kershaw pitched six strong innings, allowing a run on four hits and striking out eight.
Afterward, Grandal said he is determined to improve his reputation for working with pitchers. A report on FoxSports.com this week quoted anonymous sources on the Padres saying that Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy all preferred to work with Rene Rivera and that the team wasn’t satisfied with Grandal's apology for being suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs in 2012.
“I don’t go online and read articles. I think that’s the worst thing you could possibly do,” Grandal said. “It seemed like they all threw to [Rivera] and I was fine with it. Like I’ve been saying, I’m just going to keep doing whatever it is I’m doing and making sure the guys I’m catching, I’m on the same page with. I think last year I did a pretty good job with those new guys that came up to the big leagues.”
Of course, none of those guys is Kershaw, who has won the major-league ERA title four seasons in a row. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly seems determined to dispel any notion that A.J. Ellis is Kershaw’s personal catcher.
“I didn’t shake off as much today, so I think it’s just that learning process getting better,” Kershaw said. “There are no scouting reports no or anything. He knows kind of how I operate and different pitches in different counts. Once we start looking at hitters and stuff, it’s just game to game.”