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Grandal sees promotion as fresh start

Reds prospect collects two hits in Southern League debut
June 23, 2011
Yasmani Grandal took his Double-A debut in stride. He treated the promotion as a fresh start but has no intentions of getting too comfortable in the Southern League.

The Reds' former first-round Draft pick went 2-for-4 with a double Thursday night, helping the Carolina Mudcats edge the Huntsville Stars, 3-2.

"I wasn't really nervous, I was anxious to get in the game," Grandal said. "That nervous feeling went away the first time in high-A, so everything else is just a game.

"This is not where I want to be playing for the rest of my career and I hope I can do what I did in Bakersfield, only better."

The 22-year-old catcher laced a two-out double to right field in the first inning, grounded out leading off the fourth and flied to center field in the sixth. In the eighth, he pulled a two-out single to right.

"It felt great, especially getting that first hit out of the way in my first at-bat," Grandal said. "From what I heard, it is better to hit at Double-A than the other leagues because the pitchers all attack the zone, so I just wanted something hard that I could put a good swing on. He threw me a 1-1 cutter and I was able to get my hands inside the ball."

The University of Miami product batted .296 with a team-best 10 homers and 40 RBIs in 56 games with Class A Bakersfield. He finished his spell in the California League with hits in 16 of his last 18 games and reached base safely in all but eight contests. His 41 walks ranked third in the league.

"I was told [about the callup] by my manager, Ken Griffey, when we were playing in Visalia on Saturday. He tapped me on my back and told me I was going up," Grandal said. "It didn't kick in until after the game when I sat on the bus and told my parents. The emotions were all good, but I knew this was what I was supposed to do."

The promotion gave Grandal the chance to reconnect with some of the players he became friendly with during Spring Training.

"I played at the Double-A level in the spring, so I got to know most of the guys then," he explained. "They heard that I was coming up, but everyone was still happy when they saw me.

"I am going to treat this like the beginning of a new season because it will still take a little time to have a feel for the coaches and players."

Last summer, Grandal played eight games with the Reds' affiliate in the Rookie-level Arizona League, batting .286 with an RBI and four runs scored.

Cody Puckett and Neftali Soto each had two hits, including a solo homer, for Carolina, which finished last in the North Division in the first half of the season.

Ashley Marshall is a contributor to