Curtis Granderson had three homers in four innings and then singled in his remaining two at-bats Thursday as the Yankees topped the Twins 7-6.
Granderson, who entered with three homers on the year, took Anthony Swarzak deep in the first and second innings and then launched his third homer off reliever Jeff Gray in the fourth. His subsequent singles while going for homer No. 4 gave him 14 total bases in the game.
Granderson was bidding to become the 15th member of the four-homer club. The last to do it was Toronto’s Carlos Delgado on Sept. 25, 2003 against the Rays. Lou Gehrig is the only Yankee to ever accomplish the feat.
The 14 total bases were the most a player had had in a game since Dustin Pedroia finished with 15 on June 24, 2010 against the Rockies. The last Yankee with so many was Joe DiMaggio on Sept. 10, 1950.
Granderson finished second in the majors with 41 homers last year, two behind Toronto’s Jose Bautista.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.