Granderson takes a swing at Wiffle ball

Curtis Granderson prepares to blast a few wiffle

Curtis Granderson prepares to blast a few wiffle balls over the fence at P.S. 19 in the Bronx. (Nov. 28, 2011) (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Curtis Granderson was all for HGH testing being part of baseball's new collective-bargaining agreement.

"I'm happy to just go ahead and keep everything clean and even as much as we can," Granderson, the Yankees' player rep, said Monday afternoon. "There really isn't 100 percent proof on exactly what it does, but if people think it does give them an advantage and if there is a way that it is, we definitely want to go ahead and find a way to keep it out."

Granderson spoke after participating in a Wiffle ball home run derby at PS 19X in the Bronx, part of an event commemorating the school's renovated schoolyard.

Early on, the centerfielder kept coming up just short of the fences -- picture the Mets during their first three years at Citi Field -- but finally homered on his 11th swing. The students, grades K-8, ringed the fences and, regardless of result, shrieked with each swing.

"I thought they were going to bring the fences in, mirror Yankee Stadium a little bit, but they didn't," Granderson said with a smile. "But we got a couple out there."

The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council donated $1,500 to the school for health/nutrition programs.

He set career highs with 41 homers (second in the majors), 119 RBIs (third) and 136 runs (first) in 2011, finishing fourth in the MVP voting. He didn't mind seeing the award go to Justin Verlander, his former Tigers teammate. "You look at a lot of reasons why the person should be voted that, and Verlander did any and everything he could to help his team win as many ballgames as possible," he said. "It couldn't have gone to a better guy."

A current teammate, Robinson Cano, finished sixth, taking votes away from Granderson, something the outfielder said happens when you're on a good team. "You can't be mad at that, the fact that you have a lot of guys on your team helping the team be victorious," he said. "Robinson had a great season, along with everybody else on our team."

ESPN reported Monday that the Cubs might be looking to deal Matt Garza, a pitcher the Yankees have discussed in the past but had little chance of acquiring while he was with the Rays because of cost and Tampa Bay's reluctance to send him to a division rival. But with former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein now running the Cubs and on record as saying he'll be less hesitant about dealing with Brian Cashman, a Garza trade can't be ruled out.

Cashman has found free-agent prices prohibitive so far -- other than re-signing Freddy Garcia last week -- and the trade market hasn't yet developed. If the Yankees do little else, Granderson said that will be OK, too. "I feel like our young guys that got up toward the end of the season can definitely contribute," he said. "When they'll contribute, I'm not exactly sure, and in the free-agent market, I'm not sure exactly which route they're going to want to go . . . We have a team that won the division. If we can be in that same situation again, I think we have another great shot to make a run."

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