Hot, cold: Grandal continues to push knee

MIAMI — Yasmani Grandal’s surgically-repaired right knee continues to pass test after test. The next – the varying climates of an April schedule – might prove the most telling of all as he leaves behind breezy San Diego for South Florida’s humidity and ultimately the Midwest, where rain and sub-40-degree temperatures are expected to greet the Padres upon their arrival in Cleveland on Monday.

Consider Grandal prepared.

“As soon as you change climates, I’ve heard a lot of people say you’re going to feel it,” Grandal said. “But I’ve rehabbed in San Diego and Miami and Arizona and I’ve had that change going back and forth already. It will be fun, but that’s going to be a challenge.”

To date, Grandal has felt virtually nothing in the knee despite an accelerated return from ACL surgery just eight months ago. He made good on his promise to ready for opening day, stole his first career base in that game for good measure and caught nine innings Tuesday afternoon.

Now, Grandal’s bat is starting to come around.

The University of Miami product singled twice and walked twice in four plate appearances, upping his career average to .438 (7-for-16) against the Marlins. That success, not to mention the number of friends and family who flock to Marlins Park to support him – enough to let his agent handle ticket requests – was among the many reasons Grandal targeted an early return to the season.

“Obviously, it was a benchmark here to come here and play here,” Grandal said. “But it’s a process with the knee and we’re going to keep on working.”

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