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.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.