Yasmani Grandal & Five Other Former Friars Who had Solid Opening Day Performances

Credit: AP Photo

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Photo by Nancy Lane

The San Diego Padres had a rough start to the 2017 MLB season, falling 14-3 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Former Friars’ backstop, Yasmani Grandal, played a huge role in the game, going 2-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI. The Cuban catcher was not alone, as several former San Diego Padres players had a nice start to their 2017 campaigns.

Here are five more former Friars who stood out on opening day 2017.

Chase Headley 3B New York Yankees

The third baseman played in San Diego from 2007-2014 and was a fan-favorite, as he always was a consistent hitter and had an excellent attitude on the field. Since mid-2014, Headley has been with the Bronx Bombers, and is a consistent starter on the team and producing some nice numbers. The former Gold Glove third baseman had one of the more underrated opening day performances, going 3-for-4 against the Tampa Bay Rays, earning himself a nice start to the 2017 season.

Edinson Volquez P Miami Marlins

Edinson Volquez pitched with the Friars from 2012-2013, pitching on opening day in both of those seasons. The Marlins may have lost on opening day to the Washington Nationals by a score of 4-2, but the Dominican pitcher was still very solid in the game. Volquez threw five scoreless innings, with six strikeouts and only one walk. The former all-star not only pitched a solid game, but was also great at the plate, going 2-for-2, getting himself two singles. The bullpen was the downfall for the Fish, giving up four runs, but that still does not take away from Volquez’s impressive start to 2017.

Craig Kimbrel P Boston Red Sox

Kimbrel only pitched for the San Diego Padres in one season (2015), but became popular because of the success he did have, earning 39 saves in his lone year in San Diego. The five-time all-star is now on a World Series candidate team in the Boston Red Sox. He has a big responsibility, being that he is the closer for the team. Kimbrel started his 2017 campaign getting his first save of the season and striking out two batters in the Red Sox 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Credit: MLB

Alexi Amarista IF Colorado Rockies

The “Little Ninja” was a fan-favorite in San Diego, playing five seasons with the Friars. Amarista is now on the Colorado Rockies, reunited with former Padres skipper, Bud Black. The Venezuelan infielder did not get the opening day start, but still proved to be vital in the game. With a slim 6-5 lead in the ninth inning, Amarista was summoned to pinch-hit with a runner on second base. The “Little Ninja” came up clutch for Buddy Black getting a RBI double and driving in Tony Wolters, making it a 7-5 game. The final score of the game was 7-5 in a big opening day victory for the Rockies and Buddy Black away from home.

Abraham Almonte OF Cleveland Indians

Almonte had a brief spell with the Padres, playing in parts of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. The Dominican outfielder is now a starter on a World Series contending team, in the Cleveland Indians. Almonte did have problems with the team in 2016, testing positive for PEDs and getting an 80-game suspension. Now in 2017, the ex-Friar has begun to turn things around cracking the opening day lineup, having been in the nine hole for Terry Francona. Almonte had a solid game, going 1-for-2 with a RBI and two walks, and was part of one of the pivotal moments of the game for the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe was level, 5-5, against the Texas Rangers heading into the ninth inning. Almonte started up a three-run rally, driving in Tyler Naquin with an out to make it 6-5. After that RBI by Almonte, the Indians scored two more runs to finish off the game getting a huge 8-5 win in Arlington.

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