Grandal waiting for opportunity to play games

Grandal waiting for opportunity to play games

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Catcher Yasmani Grandal is itching to get into a game here in Arizona, though he might have to wait a bit.

Grandal, coming off major knee surgery last August, is taking part in catching drills each day with the other five catchers in Padres camp -- catching bullpen sessions, live batting practice and taking part in hitting and other assorted drills.

Manager Bud Black, who has said several times that Grandal is working ahead of schedule in terms of his rehabilitation, indicated there's no specific date when Grandal will appear in a game.

"There's no plan yet. He still has to clear some hurdles with stamina and strength as we get into games," Black said. "There's nothing etched in stone as far as a specific date."

Black said Grandal got a break on Wednesday, getting a day off after a steady diet of drills. That hasn't changed his timetable, which could see him ready to go by Opening Day.

"He was a little sore yesterday, so gave him a day off," Black said. "But our training staff and doctors are very happy where Yazzy is."

Rene Rivera got the start behind the plate for Thursday's Cactus League opener against the Mariners. Rivera and Nick Hundley are expected to win jobs on the 25-man roster if Grandal, the starter when healthy, isn't ready for the start of the season.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.