With everyone focused on when Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter might come off the disabled list, Curtis Granderson got three plate appearances in a simulated game at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Florida.
Granderson has been out for two months with a fractured left pinkie finger and afterward told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he’s basically back to where he was in spring training in terms of game readiness: “I need some swings right now. That’s the main thing I’m missing.”
Granderson has played just eight games for the Yankees all season between two lengthy disabled list stints, but is now close to beginning a minor-league rehab assignment and seems on track to come off the shelf in early August.
Perhaps there are a few who still miss the slope of Tal’s Hill rising from center field, but George Springer isn’t one of them. He lassoed a 403-foot fly ball from Todd Frazier in the seventh inning of Game 6, reaching nearly to the top of the wall to prevent the Yankees from gaining on the Astros’ 3-0 lead.
According to Statcast, a fly ball with an exit velocity of 103.6 MPH and a launch angle of 29 degrees lands for a home run 72% of the time. That wasn’t going to fly with the Astros, who were facing runners on first and second with one out and saw Justin Verlander‘s pitch count rapidly approaching 100.
It wasn’t long before the Yankees tried for another home run, however, and this one sailed far above the heads of all of the Astros’ outfielders. Aaron Judge lofted a 425-foot shot to left field in the eighth inning, destroying a first-pitch fastball from Brad Peacock and finally getting New York on the board.
The Yankees currently trail the Astros 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth.