Archive for Curtis Granderson
To date, this has been a lost season for Curtis Granderson. Two long-ish term fluke injuries have limited him to just eight (!) of the team’s first 107 games, and the Yankees have sorely missed his power production in the middle of the lineup. The injuries also came at a bad time for Curtis personally, since he’s due to become a free agent for the first time this winter. That’s unfortunate.
The good news is that Granderson’s time on the DL is about to come to an end. He wrapped up his six-game minor league rehab assignment yesterday, going 4-for-19 (.211) with four walks and five strikeouts with High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton. Granderson played left field in four of the six games — he was the DH in the other two, once because he had a stomach bug and couldn’t play the field as scheduled — and reported no problems with his left hand.
“Curtis has been a vital part of our offense,” said Derek Jeter to Wally Matthews. “He’s a guy that can change the game with one swing. We’re looking forward to him coming back, but just because Curtis is back doesn’t mean we can sit back and relax. Everybody has a job to do and everyone needs to do it.”
As a team, the Yankees have hit just 28 homers in 53 games since the calendar flipped to June, including a recent eight-game homer-less streak that was their longest since going ten straight in April 1984. That’s where Granderson, a flawed hitter who won’t hit for much average and will strike out a bunch, figures to give the team a big boost. They need someone who can put a run(s) on the board with one swing, and few hitters in the world can do that as well as Curtis. That his left hand was broken and not the right (front hand) bodes well for retaining that power after the injury.
There’s also this: the Yankees have become a very impatient team. They rank 19th in baseball with a 7.5% walk rate, their lowest since 1990 and their first time below 8.5% since 2001. Outside of Brett Gardner, who is seventh in baseball with an average of 4.24 pitches per plate appearance, not a single regular sees more than 3.75 pitches per plate appearance. That’s awful and leads to a lot of quick outs, as you may have noticed. In addition to hitting for power, one of Granderson’s strengths is drawing walks (11.0% in 2012, 10.1 % career) and seeing pitches (4.27 P/PA in 2012, 4.16 career). That will be a welcome addition to the offense.
Although the Yankees are lefty-heavy, it won’t be tough to squeeze Granderson’s bat back into the lineup. I assume Melky Mesa will be sent to Triple-A to clear a 25-man roster spot and either Luis Cruz or Zoilo Almonte will be transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot, but that’s the easy part. Granderson should play left field every day, pushing Alfonso Soriano into the DH role. Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells will have to duke it out for playing time in right. The regular lineup could look something like this:
- CF Gardner
- SS Jeter
- 2B Robinson Cano
- LF Granderson
- DH Soriano
- 1B Lyle Overbay
- RF Ichiro or Wells
- Third Base
That splits up the lefties a bit, rather than batting Soriano cleanup and having three straight lefty bats from the five through seven slots whenever Ichiro plays. It’s not perfect, but that suddenly looks like a competitive big league lineup. Four guys you can expect to be above-average, two you can expect to be about average, and three that range from below-average to awful. It’s not a classic Yankees lineup, but it’s far better than what they’ve trotted out there for most of the season.
So, this is it. The Yankees are at full strength now. With the exception of Alex Rodriguez, who is facing a Biogenesis-related suspension, all of the injured position players will be back as soon as Granderson is activated. Frankie Cervelli is heading to see Dr. Andrews and is unlikely to play again this year, and the trio of Cruz, Almonte, and Travis Hafner are largely inconsequential. This is it barring an August waiver trade. With Curtis back, the Yankees are as close to full strength as they’re going to get, and now is the time to make a run at that second wildcard spot.
In his latest minor league rehab game with Double-A Trenton this afternoon, Curtis Granderson went 1-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout. He singled to left on a jam shot and flew out to center. Granderson played the entire game at DH, and there’s a good chance he will join the Yankees when they open their series against the Padres in San Diego. That is not yet official, however.
In his latest minor league rehab game with Double-A Trenton, Curtis Granderson went 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple to right field. He popped out to third and flew out to center in his other two at-bats. Granderson played six innings in left field as well, though his bat is more of a concern at this point given the nature of his injury (hand). Mike Ashmore says Curtis will play with the Thunder again tomorrow, and rumor has it he could rejoin the team for the Padres series this weekend.
In the same game, David Phelps (forearm) allowed one run on three hits and two walks in four innings. He struck out six and got four ground ball outs compared to one in the air (popup). The other out came on a pickoff by the catcher. Phelps threw 50 of his 76 pitches for strikes (66%). I don’t know what the plan is now, but I assume he’ll make one more rehab start before joining the team unless the big league club suddenly needs a pitcher.
In his latest minor league rehab game with High-A Tampa, Curtis Granderson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He flew out to center and grounded out to first in his other two at-bats while playing the entire game at DH. Nicholas Flammia says Granderson will work out in Tampa tomorrow and continue his rehab stint with Double-A Trenton on Tuesday. Before this afternoon’s game, Joe Girardi hinted Curtis could be return to the team for next weekend’s series against the Padres.
In his second minor league rehab game with High-A Tampa, Curtis Granderson went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. He flew out to center and grounded out to second in his other two at-bats. Granderson played five innings in left field and had to field a few fly balls and scoop some base hits in front of him. Getting comfortable at the plate is more important than his defense given the nature of the injury. He’s expected to stay with Tampa through the weekend.
In the same game, Jayson Nix went 1-for-4 with a double to right field. He flew out to right, grounded out to short, and a lined out to short in his other three at-bats. He played seven innings at third base and booted a ground ball. Nix is working his way back from a hamstring problem and is much further along in his rehab than Granderson. Not sure what the plan is for him, but I suppose there’s a chance he’ll be ready in time to join the team before next week’s trip to the West Coast. Don’t quote me on that though. We’ll find out soon enough.
In his first minor league rehab game with High-A Tampa, Curtis Granderson went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. He lined out to the second baseman as well. Granderson played five innings in left field and had to run down some fly balls, but no big deal. It’s a hand injury, so getting comfortable at the plate is the important thing. He is expected to remain with Tampa through the weekend.
In the same game, Jayson Nix went 0-for-2 with a walk and two fly outs (center and left). He played five innings at third base and didn’t have to make a single play. Nix and his bad hamstring did have to run the bases once, including taking second base on a wild pitch and scoring from second on an error. No idea what the plan is for him, but I assume Nix will be here a few days as well.
Via Anthony McCarron: Both Curtis Granderson (hand) and Jayson Nix (hamstring) will begin minor league rehab assignments with High-A Tampa tomorrow. Nix actually played for one of the Rookie GCL Yanks teams today, going 0-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch while playing five innings at third base. Granderson confirmed he will be with Tampa through the weekend, and I assume he’ll need a longer rehab stint than Nix given the nature of their injuries. Both guys have been getting at-bats in simulated games this week.
- Derek Jeter (quad) fielded ground balls hit right at him and made throws to first base yesterday, his first time doing any real baseball activity since getting hurt. He also hit off a tee and soft toss. The Cap’n is expected to take regular batting practice and run today.
- Alex Rodriguez (quad) is down in Tampa but will have to rest for a few days before resuming any kind of baseball activity.
- David Phelps (forearm) will make his first rehab start for Double-A Trenton tonight. Brian Cashman has already confirmed Phelps won’t automatically re-enter the rotation when he’s ready to come off the DL.
- Curtis Granderson (hand) took three at-bats in a simulated game yesterday. “I’m getting there. I definitely need some [at-bats],” he said. Granderson will be re-evaluated after getting more simulate game at-bats today and tomorrow.
- Kevin Youkilis (back) started rehab work about two weeks ago following his surgery. His agent said it is “early in the process,” but Youkilis said he expects to return to the team this year. The original 10-12 week timetable put him on track to return in September.
- Jayson Nix (hamstring) had six at-bats in a simulated game yesterday. He is expected to go out on a minor league rehab assignment at some point soon.
- Austin Romine (neck) has been limited by some stiffness. “I planned on catching him [Sunday], but he got to the ballpark and couldn’t turn to his left,’’ said Joe Girardi, who added Romine is getting better by the day.
- Frankie Cervelli (hand, elbow) has been participating in catching drills but has yet to do anything more than take dry swings. He said batting practice is “coming soon.”
Via David Satriano: Curtis Granderson confirmed he has recently started hitting in the batting cage after being limited to dry swings last week. “Shouldn’t be too long. We’re getting close. I started hitting in the cage recently and doing some soft-toss … I’ve been doing all my defense. We just gotta get the baseball stuff underneath me in terms of hitting, getting back out on the field and playing, and get back up here to New York,” said Granderson, who is rehabbing from a broken left hand.
Brian Cashman told Satriano he doesn’t expect his power-hitting
center corner outfielder back until early-August, which makes sense. It’s already mid-July and the process of going from hitting in the cage and off soft-toss to taking live batting practice and eventually playing in minor league rehab games is probably a two-week thing, at least. The current Yankees team has very little power — they’ve hit 18 homers in their last 35 games, an 83-homer pace over a full season — so Granderson will be an enormous upgrade to the offense despite his other warts. He can’t come back soon enough.
4:37pm: Pineda has officially been activated off the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Scranton. Curtis Granderson was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man roster spot.
11:22am: Via Donnie Collins: Michael Pineda is scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton on Thursday, which is a pretty great indication the Yankees will option him down rather than add him to the big league roster when his rehab clock expires tomorrow. This isn’t much of a surprise; he never eclipsed 80 pitches during his rehab assignment and there’s no room for him in the MLB rotation. The good news is that if Pineda stays down for 2-3 weeks, his free agency will be pushed back from 2016 to 2017.