Curtis Granderson, who suffered a fractured right forearm as he was hit by a pitch the first game of spring training, will be called up from the team’s AAA affiliate, the Scranton RailRiders, today. He is one of 10 players currently on the disabled list.
It appears that Ben Francisco is going to be the player who will be designated for assignment once Granderson officially gets called up. Francisco deserves to be the outfielder to lose a spot on the team as he was only hitting .128 with one homer in 39 at bats. He was brought in after Granderson’s injury in spring training, but Francisco has not produced offensively as the Yankees had hoped.
Actually, Vidal Nuno, who pitched five shutout innings in the second game of the doubleheader yesterday, will be sent back down to the minors. Granderson’s return will improve the outfield depth and also mean that Travis Hafner will not have to play everyday at Designated Hitter.
The Yankees will now have four outfielders for three spots. Brett Gardner, (.252 and 5 steals) Ichiro Suzuki, (.254, 8 RBI and 5 steals) Vernon Wells (.299, 9 homers and 22 RBI) and Granderson (.232, 43 homers and 106 RBI) are the four outfielders who will be competing.
In five rehab games with the Scranton RailRiders, Granderson hit .400 with one homer and three RBI. This display proves that there is no point using his solid hitting in the minors instead of with the Yankees. During his game with Scranton on Monday, Granderson went 1-3 while playing left field for the RailRiders.
Wells has proven to be a great find by Cashman since the team desperately needed another outfielder coming out of spring training and he has basically been about to revert to the All-Star form he showed with the Blue Jays. He was injured for most of his time with the Angels.
He has been the team’s center fielder the previous three seasons, and has hit more than 40 homers in each of the past two seasons, so he deserves to play nearly everyday in the outfield. An added benefit is that Granderson played the three outfield positions in AAA, which gives Joe Girardi some flexibility. By virtue of his start to the season, Vernon Wells should continue to play everyday in left field.
That leaves Gardner and Ichiro to split time for the remaining outfield spots. Ichiro currently does not have a hit in his last 12 at bats, which should lead to the speedy Gardner getting more of the playing time. The Yankees also need Gardner to wreak havoc on the base paths like he is capable of doing. The outfield trio of Wells, Granderson and Gardner will give the Yankees a solid mix of power, defense and speed.
The only thing that Granderson will have to try and do is to limit his strikeouts since he had 195 last season.
Granderson will officially be back in the lineup tonight batting cleanup and playing left field.