Curtis Granderson keeps composure, stays optimistic after breaking forearm

Curtis Granderson reacts after being hit with a Curtis Granderson reacts after being hit with a pitch that broke his right forearm in the top of the first inning of a spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Feb. 24, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- The fastball that broke Curtis Granderson's right forearm had all kinds of repercussions for him and his team. The only thing it didn't do was crack his composure.

Granderson spoke calmly and even hopefully after he heard news that seemed to stun and demoralize his manager and general manager: The man who led the Yankees with 43 home runs last year will be out for 10 weeks.

Granderson had not thought it was so bad before he went for X-rays. "No numbness, no tingling, kind of like you hit your funny bone," he said.

When Blue Jays lefthander J.A. Happ, who hit him with the first-inning pitch, called to see how he was, Granderson said he was going to be OK. The test said something much bleaker. It not only puts the Yankees in a hole, it could affect his numbers and his potential earning power, given that he is a potential free agent after this season.

Still, Granderson, after playing a half-inning of leftfield in the Yankees' big spring training experimental switch with Brett Gardner, stood at his locker with a fitted brace on his arm and without any bitterness on his face.

"I've always had that mind-set that you only can control what you can, and the situation is what it is right now. To be down, pout . . . all those things right now aren't going to change anything," he said. "Just continue to move forward. Obviously, it's a big bump in the road, but you move and keep your body ready to go and mentally stay focused. My mind is looking forward to the season. That's not going to change. It just might be a little different start date, that's all."

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He took comfort in the fact that he broke a finger on an eerily similar pitch (from the Phillies' Travis Blackley) on March 22, 2008, and was back playing for the Tigers on April 23. Granderson said that whenever he has been given a range of recovery time after an injury, "I've typically been at the short end of it."

Being in good shape, though, does not guarantee that a broken bone will heal quickly. Ballplayers know that anything in the hand range is, as Gardner and Kevin Youkilis both said, "scary." Youkilis, who has been hit in that area many times, said of Granderson's injury, "It didn't sound good."

Happ told The Associated Press, "The first inning, I was rushing a little bit, and not quite getting the extension I needed."

Yankees starter Adam Warren said that hitting Brett Lawrie to start the second was not retaliatory. Who knows?

For his part, Granderson was not holding a grudge. "It's definitely nothing on purpose," he said. "He was trying to come inside. It's part of the game."

The only part of the game that matters for Granderson now is patience. His perspective already seemed fine hours after he was in the middle of a brewing controversy about changing positions. That seemed trivial at day's end.

"Of course, the biggest priority is to come back," he said. "Even today, I didn't think the big priority was leftfield. I think it was something that was out there."

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