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.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.