After missing the first 38 games of the season with a fractured forearm Curtis Granderson is off the disabled list and in the Yankees’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Mariners, playing left field and batting cleanup.
Granderson went 8-for-20 (.400) with one homer on a brief minor-league rehab assignment, notching at least one hit in all five games he played at Triple-A. New York demoted Brennan Boesch to Triple-A yesterday to make room for Granderson, who’s expected to play primarily left field with Brett Gardner remaining in center field.
It’ll be interesting to see how manager Joe Girardi divvies up the playing time, because Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner have been two of the Yankees’ best hitters and Ichiro Suzuki has struggled. For tonight at least Hafner is on the bench with a sore shoulder, so the decision was made for him.
Granderson hit just .232 with 195 strikeouts last season, but smacked 43 homers and drew 75 walks in 160 games for an .811 OPS that ranked 25th among all outfielders.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.