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Yasmani Grandal happy with opposite field power

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Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the second day in a row, the Dodgers got a key home run from one of its healthy-legged catchers. One day after A.J. Ellis jumped on a slider from Matt Garza for a three-run shot in Maryvale, Yasmani Grandal hoped his home run in Goodyear on Saturday was a harbinger for a great year for Dodgers backstops.

Grandal, batting left-handed, crushed a pitch against Zach McAllister in the fourth inning for a home run to left field against the Indians on Saturday.

"I've always felt like I could drive the ball the other way, and this offseason I worked on that a lot," Grandal said. "I'm still jumping at the ball a little bit, which is the same thing every year until you get your timing back. But the fact that I'm hitting the ball the other way with power, that's one of the things I was looking forward to."

Grandal hit just two of his 15 home runs to the opposite field in 2014 (six were hit to center field, nine were pulled).

The home run was one of three hits on the day for Grandal, who also hit RBI singles in the first and sixth innings.

"He's swinging the bat good," manager Don Mattingly said. "It's a lot of what we saw late in the year last year. From that left side last year, we had trouble getting him out."

Grandal battled back from MCL surgery to be ready for opening day in 2014 with the Padres, but struggled mightily in the first half. But once his legs were healthy in the second half Grandal was a force with the bat, especially from the left side. Hitting left-handed over the final three months, Grandal in 2014 hit .273/.371/.515 with nine home runs and 11 doubles in 194 plate appearances.

"He's dangerous. He doesn't get cheated up there," Mattingly said. "He knows what he's doing. He looks good."