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Has Dodgers’ Yasmani Grandal justified Matt Kemp trade?

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error “There was no pressure,” Grandal said. “I got traded. I was happy to get traded. You have to know that they wanted you for a reason.”One reason is most teams love trading with San Diego.Trea Turner, Washington’s rookie leadoff man who might be a monstrous problem for the Dodgers in the Divisional Playoff, was a first-round pick of the Padres. He was involved in a convoluted deal that brought Wil Myers to San Diego.Anthony Rizzo, who will be high on NL MVP ballots, went from the Padres to the Cubs in exchange for scattershot right-hander Andrew Cashner, who is now in Miami.Baltimore’s Brad Brach has become one of the top setup men in baseball, since San Diego dealt him for minor leaguer Devin Jones. There are others.Luck is always nearby. One of Grandal’s uncles had escaped Cuba by boat and began setting up the papers for the family to apply for the Special Cuban Migration Program. That was set up to boost Cuban immigration to 20,000. It was a simple lottery, and the Grandals were among the fortunate. It no longer exists.“Without it, I don’t know what would have happened,” he said. “My parents would have tried to come by boat. It wouldn’t have been the first time.”In Miami, Grandal was a housebound kid for a while, fascinated by all the different TV channels, gaining weight. But when a friend found a baseball team for him, Grandal took off. In one of his first youth games, he slid into second and jammed his cleats hard into the shortstop’s knee. That’s the only way he knew.“It was almost shocking to people,” he said. “They almost had to slow me down. In Cuba they teach you how to do every little thing. I remember going a full day just catching fly balls. Then another full day just bunting. You don’t see 8-year-olds bunting over here. Then another day just baserunning.“For homework, you’d throw the ball against the wall if you were an infielder, learn to backhand balls, learn to use two hands. It’s the way they taught you. You had to be good to make the Cuban national team. If you did, then you had a chance to get out.”Baseball people always wondered how Cubans might jolt the major leagues. Now you see the outline: Aroldis Chapman, Yoenis Cespedes, Aledmys Diaz, Jose Abreu, Yasmany Tomas, Yasiel Puig.And Yasmani Grandal.Not that they had a choice.Three facts:1. The Dodgers have a .213 average against left-handed pitching, worst in baseball, as is their .627 OPS against lefties.2. The Dodgers went into Saturday’s game 2 1/2 games behind Washington in the battle to get home-field advantage in the Division Series.3. Yasmani Grandal’s .554 slugging percentage is second to Justin Turner among full-time Dodgers after the All-Star break, and he leads the club with 15 homers in that span. LOS ANGELES — On the fields of Yasmani Grandal’s youth, nobody brought juice boxes. Nobody got participation trophies. “Play ball” was merely an expression.“They taught us how to play hard all the time,” Grandal said. “You had to slide hard. If you didn’t, you get screamed at. When I came over here, I felt I was ahead of the game, pretty much.”“Over here” was Miami. Back there was Cuba. They didn’t play for fun, although fun was not prohibited. They played for their lives.Grandal came to the U.S. when he was 10, went to the U. of Miami and was Player of the Year in the ACC. Cincinnati drafted him 12th overall, traded him and Yonder Alonso to San Diego for Mat Latos, and the Padres sent Grandal to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp at the winter meetings of 2014.center_img It was one of Andrew Friedman’s first trades and far from the most popular. Kemp was a prime-time slugger. Grandal was mainly known for his 50-game suspension for PED use in San Diego. Kemp moved on to Atlanta this summer. He has exceeded 100 RBIs for the fourth time. But the Dodgers have fortified their outfield defense without him, and Grandal hit his 26th and 27th home runs of the year Thursday night against Colorado, the second one a grand slam.That’s six more homers than any other National League catcher has hit, and Grandal’s OPS of .825 is second only to Washington’s Wilson Ramos. These particular bombs dissipated any worries over an elbow problem, which brought flashbacks of a 2015 shoulder problem that bit Grandal deeply on every swing.“He’s usually very good about knowing the strike zone, but recently he’d been swinging at pitches outside it,” manager Dave Roberts said. “He had worked some counts tonight until he got a chance to click one.”Grandal has also muted concerns about trading A.J . Ellis, Clayton Kershaw’s sidekick and a clubhouse stabilizer. Kershaw, now healthy, is putting up zeroes for Grandal as he did for Ellis. The tradeoff is a longer lineup card for the Dodgers, maybe the 1-through-8 offensive presence they’ve lacked.last_img read more

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How do you spell it without any R’s? Aspiring reporter finds out

first_img`If you don’t like my story, chief, get yourself a news boy!” That’s what a reporter said to his editor in a movie I saw when I was 11. I learned reporters were on top of everything and were one step ahead of everyone. When I left the theater I made a decision: I was going to become a reporter. On my way home, I walked past the second-hand store. Two typewriters were in the window – an Underwood priced at $5 and the other, a Fox, at $1. I had 70 cents saved up from running errands. The next morning on my way to the store, I passed the barbershop. Oscar, the owner, was standing in the doorway. “What’s the rush, Jackie?” he asked. “I’m going to buy a typewriter at the second-hand store. I want to be a reporter.” “Be careful and don’t get taken,” Oscar said. “I’ll be all right. Reporters are sharp and careful about details.” When I got to the store I asked the owner about the difference between the two typewriters. “The Underwood is a little better than the Fox,” he said. “Does the Fox work pretty well?” I asked. “Not bad,” he said. “I’ll give you a demonstration.” He typed something without looking at the keys. “I don’t see any printing,” I said. “The Underwood shows you the printing as the type strikes the paper,” he explained. “This typewriter’s keys hit the roller underneath, so you have to turn it up.” He added that it had something to do with patents. I guess when someone invents something, no one else can invent the same thing. The roller was turned up and it said: “The lazy fox jumped on top of the white picket fence.” “Gee, it looks professional!” I thought. “I’ll be able to do some good writing.” When I told the man I had 70 cents, he did not seem too happy. I started to walk to the door when I heard him say, “All right, but remember, you are buying it as is, no refunds!” “It’s a deal,” I said. It was a 2-mile walk home and the typewriter was heavy, but I didn’t care. I was going to be a reporter. My typewriter looked good sitting on the dining room table. I started typing the alphabet. I turned up the roller and there were the printed letters, all but letter R. In its place was a small mark. I looked under the carriage where the R should have been was an empty space. Then I remembered what the owner said: “As is, no refunds!” It was my fault for being so anxious. Anyway, I figured I could use the typewriter to learn how to type without looking at the keys. I practiced the next two hours and learned the positions of the keys. It went well until on came the light. “I thought I heard clicking in here,” my mom said. “What on earth are you doing? It’s 10 o’clock, you should be in bed.” “In a little while,” I pleaded. Mom told me to leave on the light. I decided to wear a blindfold so I wouldn’t see the keys. It was as good as typing in the dark. “Now, what’s going on?” Mom asked a little later. “What are you doing with that necktie around your head? It’s almost midnight and dad will be home from work.” She also added that the typewriter would be there in the morning. The next day I planned to visit Oscar the barber. He doesn’t have any children and talks to me like a grown-up. Oscar was reading his paper when I walked into the shop. “Did you get the typewriter?” he asked. “I told my wife about it, and she has a book that will teach you how to type. There is a sentence about a lazy red fox that jumped over a picket fence. It is good for practice since it has every letter of the alphabet.” “I’m pretty sure it is a `blue fox jumping on top of a picket fence,”‘ I said. “I don’t think so,” Oscar said. “If you don’t use the words red or over you won’t have an R.” He didn’t know, but I learned that 70 cents ago. I thanked him and left. My plan was to save enough money to buy another typewriter. Maybe I could sell this one. Who would buy it? There might be someone who doesn’t need an R. Jack Younger is a 46-year Westchester resident and an actor. Do you have a story to tell? Submit your column to Lisa Martini, My Turn, Daily Breeze, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077, or e-mail us at lisa.martini@dailybreeze.com. Please limit to 800 words and include your telephone number. We’ll pay $25 for each column we publish. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img
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