The Yankees have activated outfielder Curtis Granderson from the disabled list and will bat him fifth in tonight’s starting lineup against the Padres. Granderson missed the first 38 games of the season with a fractured right forearm. In his eighth game of the season on May 24 against the Rays, Granderson was hit on the left hand with a Cesar Ramos fastball, fracturing the fifth metacarpal. He missed 60 more games.
Granderson’s return is a boon for the Yankees, who enter tonight’s game against the Padres with the fourth-worst aggregate outfield OPS in the American League at .696. By isolated power (slugging percentage minus batting average), their outfielders have hit for the least amount of power at .122. The league average is .151 and the Rangers lead at .184.
Granderson, 32 years old, is a free agent after the season. The Yankees picked up his $15 million option for the 2013 season, the final leg of a five-year, $30.25 million extension signed with the Tigers in February 2008.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.