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Granderson Rehabs in Scranton, Eyes New York
"Normal Spring Training environment," Granderson said of his time in Tampa prior to his first rehab game Thursday. "Workouts during the day, including the gym, including conditioning. Didn't play the game, so a long day and then come back the next day.
There's a little fatigue, but gotta battle yourself through it. For me, I really didn't get a Spring Training so it was definitely some of the things I needed to have.
"I'm just trying to get back, get some at-bats, get some innings," Granderson continued. "It's a combination of just compiling all those different things to get myself game-ready for the big leagues."
Granderson was injured in his Spring Training debut against Toronto when he took a J.A. Happ fastball to the forearm. The injury added to a slew of injuries to New York's top players.
Ten days after Granderson's injury, first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a strained wrist tendon and has yet to play. Shortstop Derek Jeter fractured his ankle in last season's American League Championship Series and is out until after the All-Star break after doctors recently discovered a small crack in the area of the fracture. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is also out until after the All-Star break after having offseason hip surgery.
While the majority of New York's production, and payroll, have yet to play a game in the pinstripes, they do lend support to and keep in communication with each other in ways other than the obvious.
"You're receiving a lot of information [about your injury]. You don't want to have that conversation that you're getting over and over again," Granderson said. "So when you do get a chance to see a guy like A-Rod or Teixeira, our conversations are about pretty much everything but that because we know the obvious.
"I got a chance to see some the guys when I went up to New York," he added. "I saw A-Rod up there for the first time, and we were just talking, you know. He knows I'm hurt, I know he was hurt. The great thing is, as bad as it sounds that we have so many guys in Tampa, that's a step closer to getting back. You gotta look at all the bright lights at the end of the tunnel."
Granderson, who last year led the Yankees with 43 home runs and 106 RBIs, knows how important the rehab games this weekend will be for his return to New York's lineup.
"There's some of those things that no matter how hard you condition, the game is still the game," he said. "You can't mirror that, the intensity, just standing out there in those cleats for hours on hours. So I'm gonna have to get multiple innings, and I'm also gonna have to go back-to-back days to see how the body's gonna recover."
In his first significant game in those cleats, Granderson went 1-3 at the plate, his lone hit being an infield single in the bottom of the 6th inning. He faced 22-year-old Gerrit Cole, considered one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball.
"I felt all right. The first night game, game with shadows, game with some tough two-strike put-away stuff and to battle and put the ball in play was the big success," Granderson said. "I just want to hit the ball hard. Obviously, you could do better, but the first day, definitely an exciting one."
Defensively, Granderson played right field, different from his usual center field post, and had one putout.
"I felt fine out there," he said. "It was interesting to have the sun again, another thing that I haven't had to deal with, and then finally the twilight. It was good to read hitters and watch how pitchers go after them and adjust accordingly to that.
"The big thing that I'll still need to test, which I won't get until I get to Yankee Stadium are the lights," he continued. "There are some lights out here, not nearly as many as there will be at Yankee Stadium for the left fielder or right fielder. But that's one thing that I haven't had to deal with in a very long time being in center field."
When Granderson does return to the Yankees' lineup, he'll be returning to a team that's been considered a surprise by many. New York is 20-13 and finds itself in a three-way tie atop the American League East with Baltimore and Boston.
"I just want to play and help the team, that's it," he said. "I don't really set out for quantitative goals, it's more qualitative. Just go out there, do the things I need to work on and fit in to help us win as many games as possible."
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