Curtis Granderson injury may shuffle positions for Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro Suzuki leaves the field after throwing long

Ichiro Suzuki leaves the field after throwing long toss on his first day of spring training at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 17, 2013) (Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.)

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ichiro Suzuki agreed to play leftfield before coming to the Yankees, happy to play an unfamiliar position in exchange for the chance to play for a winner.

But when he signed a two-year deal this offseason it was with the understanding he primarily would be the team's rightfielder. But Curtis Granderson's injury could change that in the short term.

Depending on which young outfielder the Yankees take north at the close of camp, Ichiro could be occasionally in left, a position he played quite well last season.

"I talked to him when Curtis went down [Feb. 24]," manager Joe Girardi said. "I said this could change things depending on who makes our club, that you might have to play left."

Zoilo Almonte started in right Tuesday night, the position he's played most of his minor- league career.

Girardi said Sunday if Melky Mesa, another young outfielder in the system but primarily a centerfielder, makes the club, he might start in center against lefties, which would send Brett Gardner to left.

"Depends on who the other guy is," Girardi said.

Mo to debut today?

After Sunday's simulated game, Mariano Rivera said he was ready to pitch in his first spring game.

Girardi said that was likely to come Wednesday or Saturday.

"I'll talk to him and see what he thinks," Girardi said. "It's Mo. His ideas in camp have worked pretty well for him."

No thanks

CC Sabathia, after pitching his second simulated game Tuesday, is lined up to start Sunday against the Jays but probably will pitch another simulated game instead.

"I always try to face these guys as less times as possible," Sabathia said. "So if I don't have to face [the Jays] in a spring training game in my first start, I would much rather try and wait until the season."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Baseball videos

advertisement | advertise on newsday