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Yasmani Grandal says he's ahead of schedule in shoulder rehab

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is done with the rehabilitation portion of recovery from arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, and is now focusing on building up strength, and on Saturday said he was ahead of schedule.

Grandal has been working out at the club's facility at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. and started hitting two weeks ago. He began with hitting off a tee, then progressed to one-handed swings. At some point this week Grandal will begin on-field hitting with Dodgers coach Steve Cilladi.

But most importantly, Grandal isn't feeling pain anymore after swinging from the left side.

"From the first day we started swinging, I felt a difference," Grandal said Saturday. "It just feels good to be able to swing and not have to ice it."

Grandal took a foul tip off his left shoulder on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia, and was hitting .295/.400/.513 with 15 home runs in 84 games at the time. But his shoulder deteriorated, and Grandal was just 6-for-94 (.064) with one home run in 31 games the rest of the regular season.

By the end of the season Grandal said he had received so many injections that he didn't feel much pain during games, but afterward would need to ice his shoulder.

"It would kill me a little bit," Grandal said.

He had arthroscopic surgery to repair the A-C joint in his left shoulder on Oct. 21.

Grandal said injuries are part of a catcher's job, but he did sign this offseason with Nike, which has a new chest protector that includes extra padding for the shoulders.

The switch-hitting Grandal hasn't felt any pain swinging from the right side, though he only made six of his 102 starts in 2015 against southpaw pitchers. He said this spring will give him a chance to fully test the left shoulder.

"It's just a matter of seeing how much we can do to it in order for it to be sore, and if it doesn't get sore we're going to keep going harder," he said.

Even though he is ahead of schedule, Grandal has his eyes more on opening day than he does the first day of spring training when pitchers and catchers report.

"There's no need to rush, we're already ahead of schedule. If I do need extra at-bats I can go down to the minor leagues. But at the same time I do need the repetitions of getting into games. I'm not going to baby it, there's no reason to baby it," Grandal said. "Feb. 19 is not an important day for me. Everything starts over again on April 4."