Granderson’s New Approach

Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports

It’s no secret that Curtis Granderson has yet to live up to expectations this year with the Yankees. He has only managed to put up a .243 AVG and a .325 wOBA. Still, Granderson is far from a lost cause. At age 29, Granderson is still very much in his prime years, and the Yankees will have him under contract through the 2013 season. If Granderson start to produce more consistently and keep it up for the next few years everybody will forget about his first 89 games in pinstripes in which he struggled. Still, why has Granderson had such a poor year? Advanced statistics don’t really offer any clue into why Granderson has failed to hit well this year, but hitting coach Kevin Long is confident that he can get the Yankee center fielder going in the right direction.

Kevin Long and Curtis Granderson are working on what Long calls a “total reformation of the swing”. Who knows, maybe it could result in Granderson feeling comfortable at the plate and starting to really produce. It may be unorthodox to work on such a major change in the middle of a season (Kevin Long revamped Nick Swisher’s swing last year, but in the offseason), but the Yankees feel it is the right move. This past Tuesday and Wednesday Granderson did not start in the Yankees’ games because he had just begun working on the swing revamp. However, Granderson did start in yesterday’s game and his new swing was on display. It may not have been that noticeable, but Granderson was more quiet in his batting stance and his hands were held in a different position compared to his old batting stance. Obviously one game is not nearly enough to judge him on, but Granderson did well yesterday with his new approach in action. Curtis went 2-3 with a walk, a double, and a run batted in. Hopefully he can continue to put up similar results. Let’s get Kevin Long’s and Curtis Granderson’s take on the swing reformation.

K. Long:

“To do something like this, it’s a stretch. But it’s a stretch that I think is not going too far and I think he feels the same way… He’s had length to his swing for a long, long time. He’s been an all-star with length to his swing, but we’ve both decided at this point we want to shorten it as much as we can.”

“His stance is going to be a lot more square. His hands have changed their position. He’s holding on with two hands. His load to where he gets to contact, we’ve eliminated a lot of movement there. This takes time to do something like this, but we’re going to have five or six complete sessions. He did get into the game yesterday and had what I would call a pretty good at-bat.”

Curtis Granderson:

“I wouldn’t necessarily call it big changes. It’s just trying to simply things. Everything I’ve done up to this point is just trying to get to the point I want (to make contact)… and there’s always some moving parts before it. We’re just trying to eliminate some of those moving parts.”

“I’ve made changes throughout my whole career, I’ve been an unorthodox hitter. I’ve been a very routine and picture-perfect hitter as far as what everyone else is doing. And everything in between. Whenever someone says to make a change, I’ve always been a very adaptive player.”

It’s a good thing that Granderson is very accepting of the change and doesn’t even view it as a big change. Still, revamping a proven hitter’s swing in the middle of a season is a pretty big thing, but it’s great that Granderson is comfortable with it. Kevin Long has shown to really have a knack for improving hitters and I am very confident that he can improve Granderson’s swing and I won’t be surprised if he hits well from here on out. What’s your opinion? Do you think it is the right move to reform Granderson’s swing? Can he have a big turn around?

Link Fiesta: Trade poll, Jeter’s struggles, and Alex: an “amazing teammate”

The Yankees are off today but that doesn’t mean your day can be Yankee-less. There are plenty of great blogs out there which make it easy to get your Yankee fill. Let’s check out some articles worth noting in the blog universe:

  • Our friend Tom of Friday Nite Yanks has a poll up asking Yankee fans which recent pickup they think will be most influential. I recommend that you vote and check out the results to see what fellow Yankee fans think.
  • Over at his blog, Curtis Granderson wrote about A-Rod and his 600th home run. Here’s some of what Curtis had to say about Alex:  “He is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. His drive and passion to win are above any individual accomplishments he could achieve. On top of all that, he is an amazing teammate.” I highly recommend that you check out everything Curtis had to say, it is really nice. I also recommend you regularly read his blog, if you do not already do so.
  • We all know Derek Jeter is not having a great season. He gets overlooked because he is Derek Jeter, but recently some blogs have been taking a deeper look at Jeter and while I may not agree with everything I definitely share some of the same opinions. Remember, some of these written prior to Jeter’s four hit game so don’t take game into consideration, not that one game matters that much anyway.
    • Rebbecca of This Purist Bleeds Pinstripes showed how Jeter has been one of the worst offense players on the Yankees this year.
    • Matt Imbrogno of TYU wrote about Jeter here and follows up his discussion here.
    • Moshe Mandel of TYU wrote about Jeter’s upcoming contract negotiations.

May 22-29 In Review

This past week I’ve been away from blogging because I haven’t found the time. Anyway, I wanted to take a quick look at what has happened in Yankee land lately.

May 22nd 3-5 loss to the Mets

May 23rd 4-6 loss to the Mets

May 24th Off day

May 25th Game pushed back in Minnesota to the next day

May 26th 1-0 win against the Twins in completion of suspended game; 3-2 win against the Twins

May 27th 2-8 loss to the Twins

May 28th 8-2 win versus the Indians

Notes

  • Curtis Granderson was activated yesterday after being on the DL since May 1st. He played yesterday but Girardi is trying to ease him back in so he is getting today off.
  • Randy Winn was designated for assignment to make room for Granderson on the roster. Was it the right move? I expected Kevin Russo to be sent down to AAA. I’m not saying it was a bad move, I just was surprised by it.
  • Jorge Posada is ready to begin movement exercises and could be hitting off a tee in a few days.
  • Chad Gaudin is back, and making room for him on roster is Boone Logan who was sent down to Scranton. I for one I happy to see Gaudin back with the Yankees and happy to see Logan out of the major league bullpen.

It's great to have Granderson back in center.

Game 43: Yankees at Mets

After winning game 1 of the Subway Series last night, the Yankees will take on the Mets once again tonight. Here is the starting lineup the Yankees will send out to face Mike Pelfrey via Rick Carpiniello

SS Derek Jeter

CF Brett Gardner

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

RF Nick Swisher

C Francisco Cervelli

LF Randy Winn

P Phil Hughes

I am excited yet apprehensive to see Hughes hit tonight. Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

Fate of the Empire State Building

According to Sam Borden, the winner of this series will determine what color lights the Empire State Building will display (blue and white for the Yankees, blue and orange for the Mets). As of now the north and south side of the building are Yankee themed while the east and west are Mets themed. I really hope the Yankees win, not only because I’m a Yankee fan, but because the Empire State Building with blue and orange lights would be quite the eyesore.

The state of Javy

Last night Javier Vazquez was one hitting the Mets through six innings. Unfortunately in the top of the seventh Javy got nicked on his right index finger as he fouled a bunt off. Vazquez did lay down a beautiful sacrifice bunt on the next pitch, but he would not go out to pitch another inning. Javy wasn’t in much pain and he didn’t even realize his finger was bleeding until he took off his batting gloves. The Yankees expect to know more tomorrow on whether he can make his next start. Here are some of the things Vazquez had to say after the game.

“I feel so embarrassed because I’ve been doing this so many years in the National League and this has never happened to me.” [When asked about getting hit by the pitch on a bunt].

“I’m pretty sure I’m going to make my next start.”

Jeremy Bleich to undergo surgery

According to Tim Bontemps, Jeremy Bleich is probably going to need shoulder surgery. Bleich is a left-handed pitcher and one of the Yankees top prospects. Let’s just hope the surgery is successful and he comes back true to form because shoulder surgery is a scary thing.

Granderson progressing

Last night Curtis Granderson who is currently on the 15-day DL left the team to join the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees for a rehab assignment. Granderson is expected to play 5-6 games with Scranton and if all goes well he could be back with New York at the end of next week. Great news!

Game 36: Twins at Yankees

Last night the Yankees won the first game of this series in dramatic fashion. If you want to see the story of the game check out my game recap. Anyway, today the Yankees look to secure a series win on this fine Saturday afternoon. Here is the starting lineup via Chad Jennings…

SS Derek Jeter

RF Nick Swisher – I’m shocked that he is back in the lineup so soon.

1B Mark Teixiera

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

DH Jorge Posada

LF Marcus Thames

C Francisco Cervelli

CF Brett Gardner

LHP Andrew Eugene Pettitte

Photo Credit: Getty Images via Yahoo Sports.

Injury Updates

  • Obviously Nick Swisher is back in the lineup today after leaving yesterday’s game early with a strain in his left biceps. Jennings reports that Swisher only feels pain when he hits left-handed, and since today’s starter for the Twins, Francisco Liriano, is left-handed Swisher will be batting right-handed.
  • Chan Ho Park will likely return to the bullpen tomorrow which is really good news.
  • Curtis Granderson ran a bit this morning according to Jennings, and he felt fine. That is a step in the right direction.

Nick Johnson still waiting

Chad Jennings has the latest news on Nick Johnson. Reportedly, after Johnson went on the DL he received a cortisone shot in his wrist and the Yankees are still waiting to see if it works.

    “We’re hoping that works,” Brian Cashman said. “But if it doesn’t, we’ll have to take other avenues.”

If it does work Johnson could be back in about three weeks. If it doesn’t he will probably need some type of surgery and it will be at least 4-6 weeks before he returns.

The Field of Dreams for sale

If you have a few million dollars to spend, you can purchase the Field of Dreams. I think I’ll pass on the offer.

Injury Bug Hitting Yanks Hard

Lately it seems like the Yankees can’t even go a game without someone getting injured. Building injuries like this can really hurt a team, but let’s hope the team pulls through them. Let’s take a look at each injured player.

Chan Ho Park

Park strained his right hamstring on April 15th and has been on the 15-day DL since then. Fortunately, it looks like he may not be there much longer. According to Chad Jennings, Park through 45 pitches in a bullpen session yesterday and is scheduled to do the same tomorrow. This is big step in his recovery, and if all goes well with Park I would expect him back in a week or so.

Curtis Granderson

Granderson was placed on the 15-day DL on May 1st with a grade 2 strain of his left groin. I’ll turn it over to Will Carroll of “Under The Knife” to describe Granderson’s injury…

The Yankees will be without Granderson for about a month with a Grade II groin strain. That’s a reasonable time frame no matter which way you go with the estimate. On one side, you could be optimistic and say that Granderson’s conditioning and strength will help him get back in two to four weeks. On the other hand, caution and some normal setbacks could push it to four to six weeks. There’s not really much more here to clarify; Granderson has a simple groin strain. Until he begins to jog or run, probably mid-month, we won’t know anything new.

I could see Granderson being out for quite a while because he is a player who really relies on his legs and the Yankees won’t want to rush him back and risk a much worse injury.

Jorge Posada

Posada has been staying on the bench lately with mild calf strain. According to Chad Jennings, Posada said yesterday that he expects to play today. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees give some extra time to recover.

Mariano Rivera

Rivera has sat out since April 30th with stiffness in his left side, but he appears to be ready to return to action. He was available last night out of the bullpen, although he didn’t see any action. He did however throw in the bullpen during the game, so it seems as if he is not really an issue anymore.

Andy Pettitte

Pettitte last pitched May 5th before he had to prematurely leave that game with stiffness and mild inflammation in his left arm around his elbow. Whenever you hear news like this about a pitcher you have to be worried. Fortunately, the Yankees have so far deemed Pettitte healthy enough not to put him on the DL. Pettitte is scheduled to miss his next start and for now Sergio Mitre will take his spot in the rotation. Hopefully Mitre will only have to make one start and then Pettitte will go back into the rotation.

Nick Johnson

Johnson left last night’s game with a sore right wrist and is headed for the DL. Johnson is scheduled to undergo tests today in New York, and we will hopefully know more after then. Johnson’s right wrist is the same wrist that he injured in 2008 and kept him out for most of the season. Hopefully this isn’t as serious.

Robinson Cano

Cano was hit by a pitch from Josh Beckett on his left knee. Cano left the game shortly after with a bruise on his knee but is not scheduled for any further testing. Don’t expect Cano to play today, but for now it doesn’t look like he’ll be out for an extended period of time.

Roster Moves

With injuries usually come roster moves, and we should be seeing some moves today. While I can’t say for sure what the Yankees will do, I think they will call up Kevin Russo to be the backup infielder with Ramiro Pena as the starting second baseman for now. If the Yankees want to play it safe in the outfield they could recall Greg Golson who was sent down before yesterday’s game. While players usually have to wait 10 days in the minors before they can be called up again, with Nick Johnson going on the DL the Yankees can bring Golson right back up if they wish. If they decide to the call up Golson then he would take Johnson’s roster spot, and they could send Boone Logan or David Robertson down and use that spot to call up Kevin Russo.

"Call Doctor Robert, we need his help."

Update

Kevin Russo has indeed been called up. Robinson Cano is back in the lineup today as the DH according to Chad Jennings. Jennings also reports that Nick Johnson has a torn tendon in his wrist, I’m no doctor, but I’d expect him to be out for a few months if this is the case.

2nd Update

Looking back at Jennings’ post, it appears he has changed Nick Johnson’s torn tendon, to Nick Johnson’s inflamed tendon. That’s good news.

Off Day Musings (2010 1st Edition)

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the White House”

Earlier today, the remaining Yankees from the 2009 World Series Champions team visited the White House. President Obama and the Yankees celebrated last year’s championship, but focused on Yankee tradition rather than wins and losses. I feel President had an excellent speech today discussing the Yankee’s tradition and service, while throwing in some humor occasionally. Here is an excerpt of a few of my favorite things he said, but to read the whole speech head on over to www.whitehouse.gov

Now, it’s been nine years since your last title -– which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans.  I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that.  (Laughter.)  The Cubs, for example.  (Laughter.)  But this is a team that goes down to spring training every year expecting to win it all — and more often than not, you guys get pretty close.  Of course, if I had Rivera, I’d get pretty close, too.  (Laughter.)  My White Sox would get close every year.  That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love — and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well.  (Laughter.)  For a White Sox fan like me, it’s painful to watch Mariano’s cutter when it’s against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side.  Although I do remember 2005, people -– (laughter) — so don’t get too comfortable.  (Laughter.)

(snip)

But what people tend to forget -– especially after watching their teams lose -– is that being a Yankee is as much about character as it is about performance; as much about who you are as what you do.  Being successful in New York doesn’t come easy, and it’s not for everybody.  It takes a certain kind of player to thrive in the pressure cooker of Yankee Stadium -– somebody who is poised and professional, and knows what it takes to wear the pinstripes.  It takes somebody who appreciates how lucky he is, and who feels a responsibility for those who are less fortunate.

President Obama went on to talk about Mark Teixeira, Jorge Posada, and Derek Jeter in particular. Make you check out everything he said.

Chris Garcia undergoes Tommy John surgery

Via Josh Norris we find out that Yankee prospect, Chris Garcia, underwent Tommy John surgery on April 20th. This is Garcia’s second Tommy John surgery in a four year period. This guy has sort of been forgotten the past few years because of his inability to stay healthy, but he was considered one of the best arms in the Yankee system and if he can stay healthy after this last surgery, he could easily retake his spot as one of the top Yankee prospects.

“Take your time”

David Biderman of the Wall Street Journal recently took a look at how long it took current Yankees to round the bases when they hit a home run. Out of all the current Yankees, A-Rod took the longest to round the bases last year, and Curtis Granderson was the fastest. As Biderman points out, most of A-Rod’s home runs are no doubters so he usually knows he doesn’t have to run hard. On the other hand, someone like Derek Jeter or Curtis Granderson may not always hit no doubters so they have to run fast just in case the ball doesn’t clear the fence.

Game 6: Yankees at Rays

After losing on Friday and winning yesterday, the Yankees will play the rubber game of this series today before flying to New York to play the Angels. Here is today’s starting lineup via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Sanderson Jeter

DH Nicholas Robert Johnson

1B Mark Charles Teixeira

3B Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez

2B Robinson José Canó

C Jorge Rafael Posada Villeta

CF Curtis Granderson

RF Nicholas Thompson Swisher

LF Brett M. Gardner

RHP Allan James Burnett

Garcia Has Torn Elbow Ligament

An MRI revealed that Christian Garcia has a torn elbow ligament. While the Yankees are not yet sure how much time he will miss, you can expect him to be out of action for quite a while. He is most likely going to have the second Tommy John surgery of his young career. At this point, I really feel bad for Garcia. He has so much potential, and he really works hard, but he just can’t seem to stay healthy. Good luck Christian, and keep your spirits up.

Granderson’s New Stance

Moshe Mandel takes a look at Curtis Granderson’s new stance and how it may help him against lefties. This is worth the read.

“SLOTH: Not Just A Fury Animal”

Check out this article by Matthew Vereb about an interesting stat called “SLOTH” and about speeding up baseball games.

Happy Birthday!

Today is Mark Teixeira’s 30th birthday.

Game 2: Yankees at Red Sox

After losing the first game of the year on Opening Night to the Red Sox, the Yankees will take on Boston again tonight hoping for a better outcome. Here is tonight’s starting lineup for the Yankees via Chad Jennings

SS Derek Jeter

DH Nick Johnson

1B Mark Teixeira

3B Alex Rodriguez

2B Robinson Cano

C Jorge Posada

RF Nick Swisher

LF Marcus Thames

CF Curtis Granderson

RHP A.J. Burnett


A Few Changes To The Lineup

With Jon Lester, an elite lefty, toeing the rubber for the Red Sox, Joe Girardi has made a few lineup changes today. Most notably, Marcus Thames is playing left field instead of Brett Gardner. Marcus Thames doesn’t necessarily hit for a better average against lefties (.256 career AVG against lefties, .234 career AVG against righties) but he does for more power against lefties. However, Thames has to prove that his bat upgrade is worth the defense downgrade vs Gardner. Anyway, the other lineup change is that with Lester pitching, Girardi has moved Curtis Granderson to the 9th spot in the lineup.

Hughes Excels in Extended Spring Game

Yesterday Phil Hughes threw the equivalent of 8 and 1/3 innings in a simulated Spring Training game. Hughes allowed 3 hits to assorted Yankee prospects and struck out 12 while throwing 70 strikes and only 30 balls. Now what does this mean? Well nothing really, the only purpose the game was to keep Hughes fresh and allow him to work on a few things if he needs to.

“Zen Baseball”

Benjamin Kabak over at RAB wrote a nice article about what he calls “Zen Baseball”. Basically, what he is saying is that we as fans need to relax and enjoy baseball instead of worrying over it too much. I highly suggest reading the full post, maybe it will help you gain a better perspective.

Link Fiesta: Montero, Gardner, Thames…

On this Saturday after a snow filled week here in New York, here are some links to keep your mind entertained:

Jesus Montero and his unique throwing technique

We’ve all heard about Montero and how his bat is other-worldly but his defense needs work. While his defense may need work he has always been blessed with a powerful arm, and supposedly in order to make up for his big body he makes his throws in a way most catchers do not. “Instead of popping up onto the front of both feet and firing to second, Montero kept his right foot anchored in place after catching the pitch; he took a short stride with his left foot and threw to second base.” (If any of you have ESPN Insider access you can click on the link and read the rest of the article, but I don’t have the access.)

Montero impressing many during spring training

With his bat of course…

Sticking with the Montero theme…

Just a nice article about Montero for those of you wishing to learn more about him.

Brett Gardner a 5 win player in 2010?

Fangraphs has a nice article saying how Gardner could be the 2010 version of Nyjer Morgan and have a 5 WAR. I wouldn’t expect it, but there is a chance.

Andrew Brackman working to get back on track.

Brackman is working hard and has been impressing during spring training this year.

Thames has an opt-out clause.

If he doesn’t make the team out of spring training he can become a free agent if he wishes, so basically it is a competition between Thames and Jamie Hoffmann and whoever doesn’t make the team is gone. I’m going to say Hoffmann makes the team.

Granderson gets contacts.

Hey, it can’t hurt.

Former Yankees…

Two things you need to know about them: They stick together, and they usually end up in Pittsburgh. (H/T to RAB)

Former Yankees, Melky and Coke breaking the Yankees facial hair code…

Will Damon bring back the Jesus look? (Click on Melky and Coke’s name to see a picture)