No one seemed surprised by Thursday’s announcement that Curtis Granderson would be the Yankees opening day center fielder.
“They traded for Curtis and I kind of figured he would be the center fielder,” Brett Gardner said. “You get a guy like that, that’s where he’s most comfortable, and that’s where he needs to play.”
The Yankees expect Granderson to play every day, even against left-handers. He had two hits off a lefty on Thursday and, after a slow start this spring, he’s 10-for-22 in his past eight games.
“To come here and get a chance to play center, I’m definitely excited,” Granderson said. “But if the move happens to come, or (the decision) would have been different for me to go to left, or a week from now I’m playing left, I’m not going to be mad by any means.”
Here’s the Granderson audio.
As for Gardner, he knows he has to get on base to keep an everyday spot in the lineup. Marcus Thames could be a platoon partner and Randy Winn is used to being a regular, so Gardner has to perform.
“I’m just pretty hard on myself and I obviously haven’t had a very good spring at the plate,” Gardner said. “We’re going to be starting the season here pretty soon and I need to figure things out and get started. Last year I had a really good spring and got off to a slow start in the season, so hopefully this year it will be the exact opposite.”
Here’s the Gardner audio. He said some of his mechanical adjustments have made his bat a little faster than he’s used to and he’s been making contact too far out front. He has to get used to seeing the ball deeper and letting his new mechanics take over.
• Joe Girardi said this outfield alignment isn’t set in stone, but it’s clearly he way he’d prefer to keep it. “I think it’s something that we can always revisit,” he said. “I don’t think everything is always etched in stone, but my plan is to play Curtis in center.”
• If Francisco Cervelli can’t open the season, the decision of who would take is place is “a decision we would have to talk about,” Girardi said. Mike Rivera and P.J. Pilittere are in camp, but Rivera hasn’t played in almost two weeks since hurting his right hamstring. “We obviously need to get him back out there to see how he feels too,” Girardi said.
• Joba Chamberlain, Chan Ho Park, Dave Robertson and Royce Ring each pitched today, making it back-to-back games for each of them. Boone Logan went back-to-back yesterday. None of them allowed a run in their second appearance.
• Speaking of not allowing a run, minor leaguer Lance Pendleton picked up a save today with a scoreless ninth.
• Robinson Cano went 2-for-2 and raised his batting average to .380. He’s been terrific this spring. Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher also had two hits. All of those guys have really hit this spring.
• The plan is for Alfredo Aceves, Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte to each pitch out of the bullpen tomorrow. Aceves needs to pitch come out clean on the other side to break camp with the team.
• Speaking of plans, Girardi said his regulars will start Saturday’s game against the Yankees minor leaguers, but, “You’re not going to see them play seven innings,” he said. “If a guy wants another at-bat or two at-bats, I’ll talk to each of our guys.” Javier Vazquez is starting that game.
That’s an Associated Press photo at the top. Those pictures look a lot better in this blog format.