Eleven days after he returned from the fractured forearm, the Yankees lost Curtis Granderson to a fractured lefty pinky finger on Friday night. Cesar Ramos did the honors with an errant pitch in the fifth inning. The team won’t have a firm timetable for his return until a specialist takes a look at him on Monday, but it’s safe to say Curtis will miss several weeks. Maybe four, maybe six, who knows? If he can return before the All-Star break, I’ll be thrilled. For what it’s worth, Granderson was pretty upbeat following the game:
“I bounced back from [the forearm injury], I’ll bounce back from this,” he said (via Mark Feinsand). “The hand is still on, it didn’t fall off. You can take a look at all the positives from everything. It’s a better break than the previous one, that’s a good thing, it should be back sooner than the last time so that’s a good thing. The team is playing well. Hopefully we come back and the team is right where we need it to be and continue to help this team move forward until the end.”
The Yankees have been struggling to score runs this month (last night’s outburst aside), so losing Granderson is a pretty big loss when you consider that his replacement has stunk this year. It doesn’t matter if it’s Ichiro Suzuki, Brennan Boesch, or Ben Francisco. They’ve all stunk. Oh well, what can you do. We’ll all look back and laugh at this when the Yankees win the World Series. Here are some miscellaneous thoughts following the injury.
1. With Mark Teixeira due to start an official minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday, I think the Yankees should start working Lyle Overbay out in right field. Send him out to shag fly balls during batting practice and have him put in some extra work early in the afternoon, stuff like that, just to see if he can actually do it. He might be a Bobby Abreu disaster-level defender out there considering he hasn’t played the outfield since 2001 (25 games in Double-A), but it will keep him in the lineup against right-handers. Overbay could come out for a defensive replacement after six innings and ride the bench whenever the fly ball-prone Phil Hughes is on the mound, but they’d get to keep his bat around even after Teixeira returns. Given how little offense the current outfield options are expected to provide, spending the next week or so seeing in Lyle can handle right (the smallest part of Yankee Stadium) seems worthwhile.
2. I don’t think the Yankees will explore any trades to replace Granderson, not unless the specialist looks at his hand Monday and says he’ll miss the rest of the season or something like that. I’m sure they will monitor the waiver wire and stuff for small Alberto Gonzalez/Reid Brignac-esque moves that could provide a marginal upgrade, but I have a hard time thinking they’ll find someone better. Given how cooked Ichiro has looked, it might be best to start Boesch in right field and hope the bat clicks with regular playing time. Being a pinch-hitter and part-timer is hard, especially if you’ve never done it before. He could always come out for defense in the late innings, and his lack of a platoon split — career 109 wRC+ against lefties, 91 against righties — gives the team an excuse to run him out there every day. It’ll never happen, but I feel like Boesch deserves a shot given how terrible Ichiro (and Francisco) has looked.
3. Between the forearm and the finger, Granderson is going to miss what amounts to half his contract year. Does that make it more likely the Yankees will be able to retain him on a one-year “pillow contract?” He could come back to New York for a year, feast on the short porch and hopefully put up some more big power numbers before going back out on the free agent market after the season. I’d bring Granderson back on one-year, $10M contract no questions asked … hell, give him $15M for all I care. It ain’t my money. I don’t like the idea of re-signing him to a multi-year pact, and as much as these injuries suck and hurt the team right now, they might make it easier to retain him on favorable terms this coming winter. I’m guessing there will be multi-year offers on the table if he stays healthy in the second half and hits like he last these last three years. These were the definition of fluke injuries.