GLENDALE, Ariz. — Maybe the most nerve-wracking thing about Yasmani Grandal’s strained right forearm is that it doesn’t hurt when he’s at rest. So the Dodgers catcher has stood at his locker and dutifully answered questions about the pain and says simply, honestly, that he isn’t in pain.
But then he’ll get back to work and the pain will return, and that’s why he hasn’t appeared in a game since Monday. He won’t be back next Monday, either.
“The workload has got to be tempered because that’s how he initially hurt it,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And so at this moment it’s fine and it’s kind of in and out, but the workload — when you’re playing in a game and you’re catching nine innings, taking swings to prepare for a game, that impacts the forearm.
“So I think right now he feels fine, but as a manager I’ve got to look at if he can handle the workload and the expectation that for us, there’s no certainty with any player but a guy that’s kind of coming back from injury, I’ve just got to have the confidence that he can sustain health.”
Naturally, the injury evokes concern that Grandal won’t be ready to play Opening Day in San Diego, a mere 10 days from today.
“Tuesday, if he’s back out there doing things and Wednesday he feels good, then it’s more optimistic,” Roberts said. “When you’re looking at that point in time, the odds are decreasing.”
The Dodgers’ final game in Arizona is Wednesday. The annual three-game Freeway Series then begins Thursday at Dodger Stadium.
Tests were performed on Grandal’s forearm earlier this week, but they didn’t reveal anything more serious than a strain. Grandal only feels pain when he throws and when he swings.
The Dodgers have until April 3, a week from Sunday, to set their Opening Day roster. They can afford to proceed cautiously with Grandal with veteran A.J. Ellis in good health so far in camp.
Austin Barnes is the third-string catcher, and he can play both second and third base as well. Barnes batted .315 last year at Triple-A Oklahoma City and has a team-leading four home runs this spring, so there’s good incentive for the team to keep him around.