Something Sort of Grandish
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The Yankees welcomed back Curtis Granderson this week from a fractured forearm suffered when he was hit by a pitch in spring training. The 32 year-old has been a mainstay as the starting center fielder in New York since arriving in 2010. He’s hit over 40 home runs in each of the past two seasons, transforming himself from a speedster who knows how to get on base into a power hitting machine.
All of that sounds like something any team would want in the lineup. Sure, the Yankees are eleven games over .500 after coming from behind on Tuesday night to beat Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. Sure, they’ve gotten huge contributions from Travis Hafner, Lyle Overbay, and Vernon Wells. But none of these things should overshadow the fact that 40 home runs, over 100 RBIs and 100 runs have now returned to the lineup in the form of Granderson.
All the "wait till Teixeira and Granderson get back" talk from fans seemed to be a thing of the past in recent weeks as the Yanks were coasting. They finished up a 6-2 road trip with a sweep of the Royals and a split doubleheader with the Indians. The highlight of those wins seemed to be the pitching, as Andy Pettitte thankfully returned to his veteran self with a stellar effort on Saturday against KC. Hiroki Kuroda followed that up on Sunday by pitching into the eighth inning. Mariano Rivera is now 16-for-16 in save opportunities this season, and it just feels like something special is brewing in the Bronx.
Add Granderson to that list. He provides something that, let’s face it, Joe Girardi has worked very hard to find this season in middle of the order stability. With Travis Hafner limited due to tendinitis in his right shoulder, Granderson is someone who can be relied on to stay healthy and produce. I know Yankee fans have fallen in love with Hafner and Wells, but Granderson is in the prime of his career. We know what he’s going to do every night. Plus, opposing pitchers will have a lot to handle with a lineup that includes Robinson Cano and Granderson back-to-back.
That of course, leads to the question of where to bat Granderson in the lineup now that he’s healthy. Against Seattle on Tuesday night, Grandy batted cleanup in the order with Cano batting second and Wells batting third. Any combination of Wells and Granderson in the three and four spots should be beneficial to the Yanks, but I’d like to see Joe Girardi put Wells in the two hole followed by Cano and Granderson. That way, when either of those two come to bat in the first inning, there will probably be runners on base.
Granderson will be playing left field for the time being, a position he has played just 23 times in his career thus far. As you will hear in the clip below, he knows there will be challenges.
Curtis Granderson has proved he can hit the ball out of the ball park, but he has also shown a lot of versatility since coming to the Yankees. He’s a guy that will score runs when he gets on base, and can even swipe a bag here and there. The bottom line is, Granderson is more valuable to the Yankees right now than any of the new comers on this ballclub.