For a while there, it was hard to remember what the real Yankees outfield looked like. Curtis Granderson was on the disabled list, Nick Swisher was fighting through a sore biceps and Ramiro Pena was learning to play right field on the fly. Today, the outfield is coming back together. Granderson is rehabbing in Triple-A, Swisher is back in the lineup and the Yankees have added Kevin Russo, a utility man who actually has more than seven games of outfield experience.
What’s gone right?
Speed and power
Granderson was supposed to add a little of both to the Yankees lineup: He was supposed to run the bases, hit home runs and give the Yankees a dependable center fielder for the next few years. He had that huge home run against Boston, then slowed down and limped onto the disabled list.
Instead, the speed and power have come from Brett Gardner and Swisher. Gardner has been one of the team’s more pleasant surprises, and Swisher has the second highest slugging percentage among healthy regulars (behind Robinson Cano).
Other bright spots: Marcus Thames’ offense; Two home runs from Gardner; Swisher’s improved approach at the plate; Good call giving Russo regular time in the Triple-A outfield this season.
What’s gone wrong?
Hurry back Curtis
Through 80 at-bats, Granderson’s overall numbers aren’t great. He’s hitting just .225 without a ton of power and only seven RBI. But with him on the disabled list, the Yankees have been faced with the choice of Thames’ diminished defense or Randy Winn’s diminished offense. There’s no perfect answer there.
After missing most of the month, Granderson seems close to a return, and the Yankees need him to come back better than he was when he left (three hits in his previous 10 games).
Other problem areas: Thames’ defense; Winn’s offense (except for two or three huge hits); Swisher’s seemed-like-it-would-never-go-away biceps injury; Gardner’s .315 OBP as the No. 2 hitter; Colin Curtis and his high ankle sprain in Triple-A.