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Brewers’ Counsell on Yasmani Grandal: ‘He’s made an extra effort to get to know the pitchers’

Yasmani Grandal

PHOENIX -- Major League baseball is a small fraternity. Most players know each other, and it's the bond among teammates that can make the biggest difference.

Besides baseball, spring training is really about building relationships, and heading into the 2019 season, the relationship between the pitchers and one particular catcher is making all the difference in the world.

The process of getting to know his pitching staff began the moment Yasmani Grandal signed with the Brewers in the offseason.

Josh Hader

"There's no particular way of doing it. Just try to get to know them individually -- see what their thoughts are," said Grandal.

"He's from over here in Arizona, so we've been able to communicate and learn each other, build that relationship," said Josh Hader, pitcher.

Once spring training began, the next phase got underway.

Yasmani Grandal

Craig Counsell

"For me, that's pretty much the goal this spring -- making sure that I understand each and every one of the pitchers' language in order to help them the most," said Grandal.

"I think he's made an extra effort to get to know the pitchers and their likes and dislikes," said Craig Counsell, manager.

It's been very noticeable in the clubhouse. Pitcher Corbin Burnes has a locker next to Grandal, as does fellow starter Zach Davies.

Zach Davies

Corbin Burnes

"We do everything together," said Burnes.

"I think that's the perfect scenario. You get personal time with him. You kind of have all hours of the day to discuss things and get to know each other," said Davies.

"The pitcher-catcher relationship is all about comfortability. You know, knowing how each other thinks, going through an AB, so it's all about getting on the same frequency, basically," said Burnes.

Yasmani Grandal

During spring training, the staff and Grandal have come a long way, and the respect goes both ways.

"They have a plan. They have a goal, and they are willing to execute that plan. They know what they need to work on. That's all you can ask for," said Grandal.

"I think his goal was to get into the season and not feel like I'm learning still. I have all the knowledge that I need to have. I would guess that he's probably right there at that point," said Counsell.

And with Grandal's experience and ability to help a pitcher, this group is hoping that translates into a World Series instead of just the National League Championship Series.

Grandal has been in the World Series each of the last two seasons and the postseason the past four seasons -- all with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fans of the Milwaukee Brewers will remember him well for his performance in the NLCS last fall.

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