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Yasmani Grandal return delayed, opening day in question

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX -- Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is not in the starting lineup on Thursday night against the Indians in Goodyear, still dealing with soreness in his right forearm. Though Grandal continues to downplay the injury, his status for opening day is in question.

Grandal on Tuesday went for tests on his sore right forearm, but an MRI showed no structural or muscle damage. Yet soreness remains, and he has been shut down from hitting or throwing until Sunday at the earliest.

"We're up against the calendar, but first and foremost he's got to be healthy. I'd rather calm it down and err on a couple days of being down and get him back in there," manager Dave Roberts said on Thursday. "He won't be able to do any of that stuff until Sunday. We really want to calm it down. The less activity, the better. He'll keep his legs in shape and continue to catch pens. He hurt it swinging the bat and it didn't help throwing, so we're going to take those two out of the equation.

"It's not a contusion. I don't know if it's a muscle strain with the forearm. With those hitting drills he was doing, it kind of flared up."

Grandal will still be able to catch over the next few days, and on Thursday caught a bullpen session by Kenta Maeda. But Grandal was not allowed to throw the ball back to Maeda after each pitch. Instead, Grandal would flip the ball to minor league catcher Garrett Kennedy, who would throw the ball to Maeda.

Grandal told reporters he would be able to play if today was opening day, but it's beginning to look like the real opening day of April 4 in San Diego is in question.

"If you look at his at-bats this spring, he hasn't had many. To get him back in a major league game optimistically Monday, you're up against the calendar," Roberts said. "And that's taking out any other setbacks. For us, it's making sure we do whatever we can to get him healthy, so he can sustain being on the field for multiple days."

The earliest a 15-day disabled list can be back dated is Friday, so it's unlikely Grandal will see action in a major league spring training game until he is deemed 100-percent ready, or close to it.

Corey Seager is in the same boat as Grandal, though seemingly further along as he rehabs his sprained knee. Seager got four at-bats in a minor league game on Thursday, though was not permitted to run beyond first base.

The plan is for him to get more at-bats in a minor league game on Friday, and over the next few days will add more to his workload, like running the bases and playing the field.

"Corey's doing thing. He took some at-bats this morning, four at-bats as the DH," Roberts said. "He didn't run the bases. Every day he's getting closer to joining us."