CINCINNATI -- Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal, who has been nursing a bruised left (non-throwing) shoulder, is expected to return to the starting lineup Thursday after missing three games, manager Don Mattingly said Wednesday.
"He could have played last night, but we're trying to be careful with him," Mattingly said. "It's been three games [off], and he plays tomorrow. This time of year, especially with catchers, they're banged up. I'm not saying [the injury] won't stick around, but this gives him the best chance of being as healthy as he can be this time of year."
The injury first sidelined Grandal on Aug. 13, and he said what started with trapezius muscle discomfort spread to his neck, back and rib cage as he compensated while trying to hit, only to fall into a 3-for-30 slump.
"I hit today for the first time in three days, and we'll see how it feels," he said Wednesday. "I should be in the lineup tomorrow, but it all depends on how I feel. It hasn't bothered me on defense. From the waist down, I feel great. From the waist up, 75 to 80 percent."
Grandal said he continued playing with the injury because "I'm hard-headed and wanted to play, but you can do just so much behind the plate, and if I'm not producing at the plate, I'm not helping my teammates that much. A.J. [Ellis] is swinging the bat great, why not give him a shot at a few games back to back?"
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.