Yankees settle on their outfield alignment

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As expected, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees will open the season with Curtis Granderson in center field and Brett Gardner in left field.
In his limited big-league experience as a center fielder Gardner rates exceptionally well statistically and Granderson’s glove showed signs of decline last year, so Sherman notes that “the Yankees had come to spring training open minded about the possibility of Granderson playing left and Gardner manning center.”
However, he adds that since then the Yankees have not seen a significant enough gap between them defensively “to move the more established player off of his position.” And of course if Gardner ceases being a starter at some point–which is certainly more likely than the same scenario for Granderson–the Yankees can just replace him in left field without having to rmove Granderson back to his old position.
Regardless of the alignment New York’s outfield defense figures to be improved this season, if only because they’ll likely have several hundred more innings of Gardner and 1,100 fewer innings of Johnny Damon.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.