All around the Yankees clubhouse, Curtis Granderson is surrounded by bigger names and bigger players. Granderson hit 30 home runs in a season once. The rest of the Yankees have done it 32 times.
“I know there are times it’s possible (to hit a home run),” Granderson said. “But even in batting practice when we have home run rounds, I always lose that.”
In that clubhouse of bigger players and bigger names, no one has been a bigger hitter when it counts than Granderson. Robinson Cano is right there with him, but the rest of the Yankees have come and gone. Alex Rodriguez has fallen into a massive hole, and Nick Swisher’s still trying to climb out of one. Russell Martin’s bat seems to have left him, while Derek Jeter just found his.
There there’s Granderson, who this weekend returned to Texas — the site of last year’s much discussed mechanical changes — and hit his league-leading 11th home run of the season. He didn’t hit No. 11 last season until August, just days after Kevin Long reworked his swing with remarkable success.
“I think if you asked Curtis if he expected it to be this good for this long a period of time, he would be very, very pleased with it,” Long said. “I know he feels real good about his swing, where he’s at, and there’s not a whole lot of thinking going on. And that’s what you want.”
This is the player the Yankee envisioned when they traded Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke more than a year ago. In fact, this is probably beyond what the Yankees envisioned.
“It’s just a matter of looking to drive a pitch,” Granderson said. “Sometimes the ball can get out of the ballpark. Other than that, there really is no key or anything else like that. I don’t consider myself a power hitter by any means. When you measure me up against the other guys like Alex Rodriguez or Ryan Howard, those guys are 30, 40, 50 pounds heavier than me. I don’t know what it is.”
Whatever it is, it’s working, and while the Yankees bigger bats have searched for offensive consistency, Granderson has produced when it’s mattered most.
Associated Press photo