Padres’ Yasmani Grandal receives 50-game suspension

Yasmani Grandal won’t be eligible to return to the San Diego Padres until May 28. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games for violating MLB’s drug policy after testing positive for testosterone.

“I apologize to the fans, my teammates and to the San Diego Padres,” Grandal said in a statement. “I was disappointed to learn of my positive test and under the Joint Drug Program, I am responsible for what I put into my body. I must accept responsibility for my actions and serve my suspension.”

The rookie catcher was brought over in the blockbuster Mat Latos trade from the Reds, along with Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso and Brad Boxberger. Grandal received a promotion due to Nick Hundley‘s atrocious 2012 campaign, and lingering injuries that ultimately lead Hundley to have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. Grandal, 23, took his chance and ran with it upon his promotion, batting .297/.394/.469 with seven doubles, one triple, eight homers and 36 RBI in 192 at-bats. Grandal will not be eligible to play until May 28 against the Seattle Mariners.

The Padres now have to look back to Hundley, who agreed to terms on a three-year extension in March of last year. His aforementioned pathetic performance was surprising because it was so incredibly underwhelming. Hundley hit just .157 with three homers and 22 RBI in 58 games. In addition, he just looked completely lost, swinging at everything, psyched out and pressing.

It’s possible Hundley could regain some of his value by starting until Grandal is eligible. In that scenario, the Padres could possibly deal him when Grandal returns. In no way is Grandal’s suspension a blessing in disguise, but it could help the Padres move Hundley if he can get healthy and produce closer to his career peripherals. He has a fairly reasonable contract in a market with few attractive catchers.

In 2011, Hundley appeared to come into his own batting .288/.347/.477 with nine homers and 29 RBI in 289 at-bats, along with vastly improved defense to lead to his extension. In addition, the Padres have John Baker, who did a decent job for the Friars last year when Hundley went down, batting .238/.310/280 while handling the revolving door of pitchers, due to a plethora of injuries, that decimated the Padres organization. While Baker didn’t have the ideal offensive numbers, he was good for morale, and the pitchers seemed to like throwing to him. He’s known to be a good game-caller behind the dish.

Grandal’s suspension is very disappointing no matter how you spin it. It is terrible for the Padres (who seemed to get on a second have roll), the fans and baseball. I am not sure how you can quantify testosterone in correlation to performance enhancement, but you can quantify how awful this is for loyal fans, and the game we all love.

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