Not yet tip-top, Granderson still a spark

Not yet tip-top, Granderson still a spark

TORONTO -- Curtis Granderson insists his return to the lineup over the past week hasn't been seamless. It's just looked that way.

After missing 27 days with a groin strain, Granderson has been a spark in the Yankees' lineup since returning May 28 against the Indians. He has hits in all six of his starts over that stretch, including five over the past two entering Friday's game in Toronto. But even as he's batted .417 and played a flawless center field, Granderson admits he isn't 100 percent.

"There's always difficult things that aren't able to be seen from a stat point of view," said Granderson, adding that he's still trying to get his legs in complete game shape. "It's difficult, because the easiest way is to condition them and lift them but we can't overdo it because I've still got to play.

"I'm not sure how close I am, or if I am there and it's just I've got a normal June feel, where you're going to have games where your legs are tired and you have innings that seem a little longer than others."

To that end, manager Joe Girardi is planning to give Granderson the day off on Saturday. After that, he said the center fielder should be "full go."

"Full go" implies playing every day, and Granderson will get that chance not just because he's been compiling hits, but because he's collecting them off fellow left-handers. His ability to hit lefties was the biggest question mark surrounding the Yankees' acquisition of the center fielder, and during the first month of the season, he was just 5-for-31 off southpaws.

Granderson has almost matched that output in the past seven days alone. Starting with his key double off Indians reliever Tony Sipp in his first game back, Granderson is 4-for-7 off lefties since returning from the disabled list. That includes a second double off Sipp and a solo homer off Orioles southpaw Brian Matusz on Tuesday.

"[It's] first putting the ball in play and second, putting it in the right spot," said Granderson, who has been taking batting practice from his southpaw hitting coach, Kevin Long. "I know it's not Major League pitching, but it's the consistency. Also, him not just throwing me strikes all the time, getting me to recognize balls and strikes. Those things can't be hurting the situation."

Granderson went on to say that the ambiance of positivity fostered by the Yankees only helps.

"One of the things that this team has done really well is everyone has confidence in everyone's ability on the field no matter what's going on," Granderson said. "Things that even seem bad, there's always something positive that individuals and the coaching staff make out of it. That's always a good thing to have in a game that has so many negative things that happen."