Granderson Returns to Yank Lineup
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, MAY 15- The first of the seriously injured Yankees All-Stars, Curtis Granderson, returned to the lineup for the Yanks on May 14. The game was the first for Grandy in the 2013 season, but the 39th for the team.
Flashback to February 24. Granderson walked to home plate in the first inning of the first home Spring Training game for the Yankees. Toronto’s left-handed hurler J.A. Happ threw a pitch that fractured Granderson’s right forearm.
Since that occurrence, the 32-year-old outfielder has been in an intensive rehab program in an attempt, now successful, to return to the lineup. Granderson spoke about the lengthy healing process before his return, “I knew it was a broken bone and I can’t go ahead and do anything if it’s still broken. You’ve got to let it heal. And once it was able to heal, we’ve got to start swinging and getting my legs back underneath me.”
Once finally allowed to play, Granderson batted 8 for 20 in his Triple A preparation with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Before his appearance with the Yankees, the veteran outfielder explained his emotional feelings, “It’s the first game. I didn’t get a chance to get Opening Day, so today is my Opening Day. And just like every Opening Day, there’s always a little bit of nerves until that finally passes.”
On Tuesday, Granderson batted in the clean-up slot and played in left field rather than his customary place in center field. He grounded into a double play in his first trip to the plate in the first. He fanned in the fourth. In the sixth, he grounded to the pitcher, Felix Hernandez, who threw to second for the force. Granderson, on first, then scored the first Yankees run on a double by Lyle Overbay. Granderson drew a walk in the seventh, which loaded the bases. The next batter, Overbay, hit a sacrifice fly to center that drove in the winning run.
One the game was behind him, Granderson felt less pressure. He told reporters, “It was like another opening Day. Nerves enter into it. Now it’s out of the way, so we can get back to playing. It’s definitely a bit of relief.”
Despite the absence of high salaried and highly talented players, the Yankees hold undisputed first place in the American League East. Hopefully, the morale and the chemistry on the thus far successful team will continue and not deteriorate once the stars come out.