Home runs aside, Grandal focused on defense

Home runs aside, Grandal focused on defense

SAN DIEGO -- Catcher Yasmani Grandal has caused quite a stir with his bat since he was promoted from Triple-A Tucson. On Wednesday, he became the fourth player since 1900 to hit four home runs in his first six Major League games.

But there's a defensive component to his job as well, one that he has worked to improve since all those early morning workouts in Spring Training, and then in his first three months of the season in Tucson, as he acted as a sponge, soaking in as much as he could from his manager -- and former catcher -- Terry Kennedy.

Kennedy spent 14 seasons in the Major Leagues (1978-91) with four different teams. He was a four-time All-Star who twice led the league in caught stealing (1981, 1987).

"Just to have a guy who knows what he's doing is a big confidence boost," Grandal said on Thursday. "He knows what you need to work on: setting up, pitch selection, recognizing how to block a ball, how to set-up for a pitch in different type of counts."

Grandal was in the starting lineup Thursday for the first of four games against the Reds at Petco Park.