I speculated about this last weekend, but apparently Joe Girardi has made it official- Curtis Granderson will play center when he returns from his broken arm. It’s unfortunate because I don’t think Granderson is much of a center fielder anymore.
What surprised me about the article I linked to is the comment from Girardi saying he would play Mesa in center and Gardner in left if Mesa made the team. Mesa is certainly considered a very good defender, but so is Gardner. Maybe it’s simply a case of putting the rookie in the spot that makes him the most comfortable, but it doesn’t thrill me. A 2014 outfield of Gardner-Mesa-Ichiro might hit 30 homers between them. However, Gardner in center and a free agent in left would make a lot more sense.
Then again, Mesa needs to not only win the job in 2013, he needs to win it for 2014. We shall see.
According to reports Curtis Granderson has broken his forearm and will miss approximately ten weeks. That figure includes rehab, according to Jack Curry, but it means the Yankees will not have Granderson in the lineup until early May.
This is exactly the type of injury the Yankees really couldn’t afford to suffer. They simply don’t have a lot of depth in the upper levels of the system and their options in camp aren’t great. Perhaps the best one is Thomas Neal. Neal is 24 and hit .314/.400/.467 in AAA last year. Unless Melky Mesa or Zolio Almonte is ready to make the leap to the bigs, its hard to see how Juan Rivera or Matt Diaz would be a better option.
In addition, this probably puts an end to the idea of Granderson in leftfield. Without the benefit of practicing the position in spring training, I can’t see the Yankees throwing him out there in the middle of the season. So, I would expect Gardner to play center until Curtis returns.