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Girardi: Granderson to play center upon return

TAMPA, Fla. -- When Curtis Granderson returns to the Yankees' outfield, he will do so as the center fielder, manager Joe Girardi confirmed on Sunday.

Girardi told reporters in Fort Myers, Fla., that he has decided to abandon the experiment of playing Granderson in left field with Brett Gardner moving to center field. Granderson is sidelined until May with a fractured right forearm.

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"We don't really have the chance to work on it," Girardi said. "It's just something that I've thought about. I don't know how many games he would have in his rehab coming back, and that's a concern for me. So I want him to be comfortable wherever he's at, because his bat's real important to us."

Girardi added that if the Yankees take outfield prospect Melky Mesa on the roster to begin the season, he would play Mesa in center field and have Gardner in left field.

"Hypothetically, if Mesa's the guy that goes, he's played mostly center field," Girardi said. "So Gardy would have to move to left in that situation."

The Yankees are also considering Zoilo Almonte, Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera and Ronnier Mustelier among their choices to fill in for Granderson in April. If those players were in the lineup, Gardner would have to play center field with Ichiro Suzuki in right field.

"Until I sort out what we have, it's going to be kind of difficult to determine how we do it," Girardi said.

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