Grandal will be allowed to start playing for Triple-A Tucson on Saturday as part of a rehab program to prepare him for his return.
But will he return to the Padres when eligible on May 28? And if he does, what happens to current backup catcher John Baker ... plus Rene Rivera at Triple-A Tucson?
The Padres, who fell to the Nationals 6-5 in 10 innings Friday, aren't saying.
There has been speculation that the Padres won't activate Grandal on May 28 -- that they will temporarily stick with Nick Hundley and Baker until Grandal forces his way back onto the roster. Grandal has options remaining and there is a thought that the Padres might leave him in Tucson for a short amount longer to make a point.
But Grandal will be in San Diego sooner than later. And when he arrives, the Padres are unlikely to carry three catchers. Hundley is still owed $7 million for two more seasons on an extended contract. Baker, meantime, got his first hit Wednesday since April 7 and his first two RBIs of the season.
"You have no idea how big that hit was for me," said Baker. "My last six games have been particularly tough. No hits with runners in scoring position until today. And it's tough going through this when you think about what could happen in a couple of weeks."
Baker could be the third catcher out. If he is, he will likely be claimed by another team. That could influence Rivera, who is eligible to opt out of his minor league contract with the Padres on June 15. If Baker goes when Grandal returns, Rivera would be first in line to get called up should either Hundley or Grandal be injured.
NEXT: Nationals (Jordan Zimmermann 7-1, 1.69) at Padres (Eric Stults 3-3, 4.57)
3B Chase Headley continues to exhibit a hot stick at Petco, where he has hit in 11 straight games after a 1-for-4 outing Friday. Headley is 17-for-39 during the streak with a home run, seven doubles and five walks. It's no coincidence that the Padres had won nine of their last 11 at home before falling to the Nationals Friday.
LHP Eric Stults suffered a loss in his last outing, a 4-2 setback at Tampa last Sunday. Stults gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings. Stults will be starting against the Nationals for the first time.
RHP Tim Stauffer was called up from Triple-A Tucson on Friday. Stauffer, who had season-ending surgery on his right elbow to repair a flexor tendon last August, was 2-2 with a 3.16 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Tucson this season, the last one coming Saturday against Round Rock. He will pitch out of the Padres bullpen.
RHP Burch Smith, who was making his second major league start after being called up from Double-A San Antonio last Saturday, gave up five runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings Friday. He struck out eight, including the side in the second, and walked one. Smith was chased in the second inning at Tampa last weekend.
LF Carlos Quentin was placed on paternity leave Friday. Quentin missed Thursday's game against the Nationals due to the birth of his first child, a boy named Clark. Quentin, who is hitting .181 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 28 games, will return Saturday.
RHP Thad Weber was designated for assignment on Friday. Weber had two stints with the Padres and was last optioned to Triple-A Tucson on April 24 after being recalled on April 20. The right-hander appeared in two games with San Diego, working a career-high 4.1 scoreless innings on April 23 against the Milwaukee Brewers at Petco Park.
RHP Huston Street has been anything but automatic. The closer has allowed six home runs, including Chad Tracy's game-winner in the 10th Friday night, in 17 1/3 innings. He gave up only two in 39 innings last season. Though manager Bud Black said recently he wasn't concerned, he had to be after Friday's debacle.
"I feel like I made some improvement and I was able to mix up some pitches and work in difficult counts."—RHP Burch Smith, who gave up five runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings of the Padres' 6-5 10-inning loss to Washington Friday.
LHP Clayton Richard (intestinal virus) went on the 15-day disabled list May 5. He made a rehab start for Triple-A Tucson on May 16.
RHP Joe Wieland (Tommy John surgery in July 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 22. He threw 100 pitches at 75-80 percent on April 26. He's unlikely to return before August.
LHP Cory Luebke (Tommy John surgery in May 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list March 20. After taking three weeks off due to soreness in his elbow, he resumed throwing around Opening Day. He threw from 150 feet in late April, but he backed off his throwing program again in early May after feeling soreness in the elbow.
OF Cameron Maybin (right wrist impingement) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. In addition to a bone bruise in the wrist, Maybin has inflammation in the cartilage as well as possible ligament damage. He hit in the batting cage for the first time May 16, but the timetable for his return remained uncertain.
INF Logan Forsythe (plantar fasciitis in right foot) was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list April 24. He started jogging May 8, and he was hitting in the cage as of mid-May.
RHP Casey Kelly (torn right ulnar collateral ligament) went on the 60-day disabled list March 30. He had season-ending Tommy John surgery April 2.
RHP Edinson Volquez
RHP Jason Marquis
LHP Eric Stults
RHP Andrew Cashner
RHP Burch Smith
RHP Huston Street (closer)
RHP Luke Gregerson
RHP Brad Brach
RHP Anthony Bass
LHP Joe Thatcher
RHP Dale Thayer
RHP Tyson Ross
RHP Tim Stauffer
1B Yonder Alonso
2B Alexi Amarista
SS Everth Cabrera
3B Chase Headley
INF Jedd Gyorko
INF/OF Kyle Blanks
LF Carlos Quentin (paternity leave)
CF Chris Denorfia
RF Will Venable
OF/1B Jesus Guzman
OF Mark Kotsay