Grandal's hard work could earn him spot on roster

Grandal's hard work could earn him spot on roster

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Manager Bud Black hasn't revealed who will catch Andrew Cashner on Sunday night in the season opener, let alone settled on the two -- or possibly three -- catchers who will be on the 25-man roster.

But it appears that Yasmani Grandal -- maybe a long shot to make the roster when the team arrived in Arizona last month -- has put himself in prime position to make the cut.

Grandal -- who had surgery on Aug. 6 to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee -- has impressed the organization with how hard he's worked to get ready for the regular season, even as some figured he was a candidate for the disabled list.

"We talked in the early part of March whether this was a possibility, and I was being a little cautious for a couple of reasons," Black said. "But he's kept his nose to the grindstone and has done a really nice job staying on track through the schedule the medical staff has provided. He hasn't missed any markers and he's played well.

"He's caught extremely well. He's moved, he's blocked and he has thrown at a level of performance that indicates he could be ready by Opening Day."

In addition to Nick Hundley and Grandal, the Padres have Rene Rivera, who did a nice job calling games and handling the pitching staff after Grandal was injured last July. Rivera is out of Minor League options, so it could be tricky to keep him if another team has a need for a catcher in the big leagues.

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