Grandal Gets Early Start For Reds
GOODYEAR, ARIZ.—For catcher Yasmani Grandal, spring training was his first contact with a lot of the Reds staff and players.
"It's a good chance to get a little respect from the older guys," he said, "and to see what it's all about."
The 12th overall pick in the draft last year, Grandal didn't sign until Aug. 16, so his season was limited to eight games in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
But Grandal, a 22-year-old switch-hitter, got a jump on this season. He was among the first players to arrive in Arizona, arriving on Jan. 7.
"I wanted to get here before camp—to get used to the weather, to know what to expect," Grandal said.
Vice president of scouting and player development Bill Bavasi said Grandal will probably open with Double-A Carolina.
"When we just get guys late, I usually leave it up to (scouting director Chris) Buckley," Bavasi said. "He knows him better. (Grandal) really worked hard after the season. He was the first one here. The easiest thing for him to do would have been to stay in Miami."
Early in camp, Grandal worked alongside veteran catchers Ramon Hernandez, Ryan Hanigan and Corky Miller. The next test for Grandal will be handling his first full season.
"He's a young player in a position of leadership and assertiveness," Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. "He's taking it slow. I'd rather have that then have him be too assertive."
• Young minor leaguers got a lot of playing time early in camp, so it was surprising that 18-year-old outfielder Yorman Rodriguez wasn't among them. Signed for $2.5 million in 2008, he did not arrive until the minor league reporting date. "We worked him hard toward the end of last year," Bavasi said. "He was pretty burnt.
• Shortstop Billy Hamilton made an instant impression on Baker in Hamilton's first big league spring game. Hamilton fielded a line-drive base hit well behind second and threw out the runner trying to go to third from first. "Heads-up play," Baker said. "If he hesitates at all, the runner is safe."