Grown tired of his bad season numbers, Curtis Granderson came to hitting coach Kevin Long yesterday and asked to make a change.
In a drastic mid-season move, the Yankees began a “total reformation” of Granderson’s swing. It’s the reason he was kept out of the lineup tonight against Cliff Lee. Long specifically asked Joe Girardi for one more day to work with his center fielder.
“To do something like this, it’s a stretch,” Long said. “But it’s a stretch that I think is not going too far and I think he feels the same way… He’s had length to his swing for a long, long time. He’s been an all-star with length to his swing, but we’ve both decided at this point we want to shorten it as much as we can.”
After batting practice yesterday, Long and Granderson went through an intense session of mechanical changes. They were going to do it again after the game, but Granderson was a late-inning replacement and so they put off that session until today. After BP, Granderson and Long will get to work again, then they’ll go through the same stuff tomorrow before the series opener in Kansas City.
Long and Girardi both compared the changes to those of Nick Swisher in the offseason. It’s basically an attempt to quiet Granderson’s swing. It’s not an unheard of series of changes, but making them this late into the season is certainly an unusual move.
“His stance is going to be a lot more square,” Long said. “His hands have changed their position. He’s holding on with two hands. His load to where he gets to contact, we’ve eliminated a lot of movement there. This takes time to do something like this, but we’re going to have five or six complete sessions. He did get into the game yesterday and had what I would call a pretty good at-bat.”
As Long said, Granderson has yet to get going for an extended period of time. He said Granderson told him at one point, “How much worse could it get?” The changes have worked wonders for Swisher, and Long said he’s been encouraged by how well Granderson had adapted in the early stages.
“His eyes were lighting up,” Long said. “He was excicted. I was excited.”
Here’s Long talking about the changes.
• Mark Teixeira will be back with the team tomorrow.
• This is the first time Posada has caught Javier Vazquez since May 1. Girardi said he texted Posada this morning to make sure his shoulder felt strong enough to play tonight.
• Girardi said he expects Francisco Cervelli to stick with A.J. Burnett, but Cervelli might not have another specific starter who he catches every time. Cervelli will be with Burnett, and then mix-and-match to give Posada additional days off.
• Alfredo Aceves will make his next rehab appearance on Friday with Trenton, because Scranton will be on the road. Girardi said he would like to see Aceves get stretched to 40 or 45 pitches before activating him, “but if he doesn’t, he doesn’t,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he’s not especially worried about Vazquez’s recent dip in velocity. “In the beginning of the year he wasn’t able to pitch well with his velocity down,” Girardi said. “Now he’s figure out how to do it. So it’s not a huge concern.”
Associated Press photo of Granderson