Injured San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal could be ready for Opening Day, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Grandal suffered a torn ACL in July and had surgery to repair it in August.
It usually takes about nine to 12 months to recover from this particular injury, and Grandal will only be eight months removed from surgery when the Padres play their first game of the season. However, Center reports that Grandal believes he will be ready and that the team is "cautiously optimistic" that he is right. Said general manager Josh Byrnes, via Center:
"Opening Day is possible for him...We have to hold him back somewhat during spring training even if he feels 100 percent. We will monitor him during spring training."
If Grandal is not ready to go, then San Diego has other options behind the plate. Nick Hundley played a career-high 114 games in Grandal's absence last year and held his own, posting a .233/.290/.389 line (94 OPS+) with 13 home runs and positive defensive metrics. Hundley, a 30-year-old who has spent all six of his major league seasons with the Padres, represents a solid backup plan as a steady veteran with good defense and a bit of pop in his bat. The team also has Rene Rivera on its 40-man roster; the 30-year-old appeared in 23 games for the Padres last year and posted a 596 OPS.
However, the best-case scenario for San Diego is that the 25-year-old Grandal is healthy and ready to go. Although he was limited to just 28 games last year and struggled to a 693 OPS, the switch-hitter was fantastic in 60 games as a rookie in 2012 -- .297/.394/.469 (142 OPS+) with eight home runs and nearly as many walks as strikeouts. If he could build on those numbers over a full season, he could be a big help to the Padres in their quest for their first playoff berth since 2006. The team has finished with a 76-86 record in each of the last two seasons.