Joe Girardi moves struggling Curtis Granderson out of leadoff spot

Curtis Granderson rounds the bases after hitting a Curtis Granderson rounds the bases after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning. (Aug. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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DETROIT -- It didn't take long for Curtis Granderson to look comfortable again at the plate.

The centerfielder, 2-for-20 in five games since being inserted at leadoff, batted sixth Wednesday night and had three hits and four RBIs against the Tigers.

He had a two-out RBI single in the first against Anibal Sanchez to make it 2-0 and then extended the lead to 5-0 in the third with his 30th homer of the season, a three-run shot to right on an 0-and-1 pitch. He added a double in the seventh.

Derek Jeter led off, followed by Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez.

"Grandy's been struggling a little bit," Joe Girardi said before the game. "And we've had some other guys swinging the bat pretty well so we'll just change it up a little bit."

Although Granderson, who was batting sixth for the 11th time this season, hadn't performed well leading off, Girardi didn't believe there was a connection between the slump and batting order position.

"He's hit [leadoff] plenty in his career, it's something that's not foreign to him," Girardi said. "The second half [overall] he's struggled. It wasn't just when we moved him to first."

Granderson hit .248 (.352 OBP) with 23 homers and 48 RBIs in the first half of the season compared to .213/.275 with seven homers and 18 RBIs in the second half, including Wednesday night's game.

After Tuesday's loss Chavez, who had two hits and a walk in his first three plate appearances last night, said the Yankees' recent difficulties could be traced to Alex Rodriguez going on the DL July 25 with a fracture in his left hand. The Yankees entered last night's game 4-7 without A-Rod, though they weren't playing well before he got hurt.

Rodriguez continues to be on pace to return within the 6-8 week timetable general manager Brian Cashman originally figured on after the injury.

 

In agreement

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Although he took a more measured approach after Tuesday's loss, Girardi had no issue with Chavez saying in the clubhouse there should be "a high level of concern" regarding the Yankees' slump.

"I don't like the way we're playing, I don't like that we're losing a lot of games," Girardi said before Wednesday night's game. "Am I concerned we're not winning games? Sure. But I know as a manager you're going to go through those times and sometimes you have to just ride things out. This team has the ability to take off again."

Tuesday's 6-5 loss made it eight straight losses for the Yankees in games decided by one run. "We've been in most games," Girardi said. "I'd be more concerned if we were getting hammered."

 

Day trip

Rodriguez, traveling with the team as he rehabs, made the short trip from Detroit to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he toured the school's football, basketball and baseball facilities.

"Just met A-Rod in the PDC after my workout," former Michigan basketball captain Zack Novak tweeted, along with a picture of the encounter. "He's a real nice guy. I told him not to beat up on my White Sox."

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