Granderson scratched with oblique strain

Granderson scratched with oblique strain

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Yankees are worried about Curtis Granderson's availability for Opening Day. The outfielder suffered a right oblique strain on Tuesday that has placed his status in doubt.

Granderson told teammates that he felt the strain during batting practice before Tuesday's 6-2 Yankees loss to the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium, but he also said he could have played if it was the regular season.

"Hopefully, it's low-level, but it's too early to give it a call," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "Obviously, he felt something, and we'll take the cautious road. We'll get a better feel in the next few days how cautious we need to be."

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Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team will re-evaluate Granderson, 30, on Wednesday morning.

Granderson was sent back to Tampa, Fla., after coming off the field, but he did some running and throwing before informing the team of the strain. Trainer Gene Monahan did not immediately schedule any tests.

"I'm concerned, but at least he gave us a good sign by being able to go out there," Girardi said. "He said if it was the season, he'd play."

Beginning his second season with the Yankees, Granderson batted .247 with 24 home runs and 67 RBIs in 136 games for New York last year. He is batting .385 with three home runs and seven RBIs this spring.

"The way he was talking, it's not that serious," said Yankees outfielder Andruw Jones. "He's probably going to be ready close to Opening Day."

The Yankees have not had good luck with obliques this spring, as Granderson's issue is the fourth -- right-handers Joba Chamberlain and Sergio Mitre, plus outfielder Greg Golson, have all dealt with various side-related ailments.

Coincidentally, Chamberlain and Golson each returned to action on Tuesday after lengthy layoffs. Golson had not played since suffering a strain on March 7, and Chamberlain's last appearance came on March 11.

"From what [Granderson] said, it doesn't seem as bad as mine was," Golson said.

Cashman said that the Yankees had handled those injuries cautiously because Spring Training allowed them to. In many other cases, Cashman said the team would have simply used the disabled list.

A long-term injury to Granderson would mean increased playing time for Jones, a veteran whom the Yankees plan to carry as a fourth outfielder. Brett Gardner could then shift from left field to center.

"[Granderson] said that it was not that bad, that it'd be two to three days, maybe," Jones said. "Hopefully, he can come back and be ready for the season. He's a big, key part of this team."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.