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Grandal exceeding expectations for Crew

@Russ_Dorsey1
June 9, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- The addition of Yasmani Grandal to a strong Brewers squad has already paid big dividends this season. Grandal, who signed a one-year deal in January to become Milwaukee's everyday catcher, has produced better than the team could have hoped and is on pace to have career highs in

MILWAUKEE -- The addition of Yasmani Grandal to a strong Brewers squad has already paid big dividends this season.

Grandal, who signed a one-year deal in January to become Milwaukee's everyday catcher, has produced better than the team could have hoped and is on pace to have career highs in almost every major offensive category.

The Brewers’ primary backstop is slashing .274/.377/.522 and is tied with the Cubs' Willson Contreras for first among National League catchers with 13 home runs.

“Yaz’s at-bats -- he’s been an example, especially this series, of how he grinds out at-bats. He’s very disciplined. He knows what he wants to do,” manager Craig Counsell said prior to Sunday’s 5-2 win over Pittsburgh. “He’s been playing a bunch. He’s a switch-hitting catcher. There’s not many of those. He adds depth to the middle of your lineup that’s difficult to match up with.”

With Grandal taking the lion's share of the at-bats, Manny Piña’s time on the field has been cut. Pina, who split much of the catching duties with Erik Kratz last season, has just 55 plate appearances this season.

Pina hit a pinch-hit home run in Saturday's 5-3 victory over the Pirates. Counsell thinks his backup catcher is right where he needs to be.

“Manny was hurt, and this stretch of the season has allowed Yaz to play a lot. Manny’s doing fine. He just hasn’t had a ton of chances,” Counsell said. “He’s got 50-[plus] plate appearances. With the IL stuff, early, just hasn’t gotten a lot of opportunities.”

Historic Hader
Josh Hader has been one of the best relievers the game has seen in his young career thus far. Monday will mark the second anniversary of his call-up to the big leagues.

Since Hader’s debut, the southpaw has dominated hitters and become one of the most feared relievers in the game.

“Since he stepped in the league, Josh has been fun to watch. I think he’s generated a lot of attention, and he should,” Counsell said. “He’s striking people out like we’ve rarely seen and doing it with one great pitch, largely. The way he’s stepped in the league, there may have been a little graduation to where we are now, but it happened pretty darn fast.”

Hader leads all relievers in strikeouts (277) and batting average against (.137) since his debut. His 15.42 K/9 is the highest among relievers all time (minimum 150 innings pitched).

Hader converted his 16th save of the season Sunday.

Russell Dorsey is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter @Russ_Dorsey1.