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Granderson’s injury leaves plenty of lingering questions

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It was an inside fastball that hit Curtis Granderson on the right forearm, just above his wrist. Initially, Granderson thought it was no big deal.

“Not right away because it was just one specific spot (that hurt),” Granderson said. “Nothing moved up or down. No numbness. No tingling. Just that spot. Kind of felt like you hit your funny bone, but only in that spot. Even as we were waiting for the X-ray they were like, ‘Is it starting to tingle?’ I said, not really. He goes, ‘OK, that’s a good sign.’ Then they looked at it and said, there it is.”

Broken forearm. It’s expected to take 10 weeks for Granderson to be ready to rejoin the big league team, which puts him back in the lineup the first week of May. It leaves a month-long hole and some immediate uncertainty.

Who is going to fill the roster spot?
The Yankees have veterans Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera in camp. They also have older minor league outfielders like Ronnier Mustelier, Zoilo Almonte, Thomas Neal and Adonis Garcia. Brian Cashman mentioned that his scouts have just started watching games and it’s still too early to know which players might become available.

Cashman said this morning that he wouldn’t want a young guy in a part-time, right-handed platoon role. But that’s not necessarily the case for a situation like this.

“Now we’ll be forced to really evaluate that aspect of it,” Cashman said. “You’re not asking guys (to sit for a long time). Could you bring a guy up right now for the first month in an everyday situation? We’ll look at that. We’ll look at it all. We have no choice. When these things happen you adjust, so we’ll be forced to adjust.”

Will the Yankees bring Granderson back as a left fielder?
This spring, the Yankees were planning to test Granderson in left. It was meant to be a time for the team to evaluate and for Granderson to adjust. Now the Yankees don’t have that same adjustment time, and it might be easier to bring Granderson back at his most comfortable position.

“I don’t know about that,” Cashman said. “The plan we were having was an experiment. I haven’t though that far ahead, but that experiment is over.”

Does this mean Brett Gardner is the Opening Day center fielder?
Girardi announced Brett Gardner as his starting center fielder, then hedged a little by saying there’s a chance the Yankees could carry a Granderson replacement who’s only comfortable in center. In that case, the Yankees might let the new guy play center while Gardner moves back to left. That said, both Melky Mesa and Adonis Garcia — the young center fielders in camp — have experience in the corners, so they wouldn’t necessarily bump Gardner. Girardi wouldn’t completely rule out the idea of putting Ichiro Suzuki in left field if the Yankees add a guy who’s more comfortable in right.

“Whoever it is that comes up, you probably want him to be most comfortable,” Girardi said. “You don’t want to ask him to try do too much and maybe learn a position that he hasn’t played a lot of.”

A few odds and ends

• Cashman didn’t totally rule out the idea of Eduardo Nunez in left, but he said he was leaning against it. “Not necessarily for me,” Cashman said. “But it could be for other people. I don’t see that as something that is an option from my perspective.”

• Girardi said the Yankees don’t have to replace Granderson with someone who can play center field. The Yankees could go a month with Ichiro as their backup in center. “Ichiro’s done it for us,” Girardi said. “You’re not looking at a long-term fix, you’re looking at a short-term fix, so whatever we have to do for short-term, that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

• Granderson said he had a similar situation with the Tigers (broke his hand when he was hit by a pitch in spring training). “I think the estimate at the time was four to eight weeks, and we were back in like five,” Granderson said. “Then piggybacking off of that, I’ve had injuries in the past with the oblique and the groin and again, the range of the amount of time, I’ve typically been on the short end of it. Hopefully that remains the same.”

Associated Press photo