New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson swings on an RBI-triple against...

New York Yankees' Curtis Granderson swings on an RBI-triple against the Baltimore Orioles during the second inning. (June 10, 2010) Credit: AP

To get to know Curtis Granderson as a Yankee, the first thing we should do is forget about his remarkable 2007 season.

Maybe one of these years he will morph back into the extra-base-hit machine that he was three years ago when he hit 38 doubles, 23 triples and 23 home runs, but right now that's not him.

In his first three months in pinstripes, Granderson has been a nice complementary player, someone who occasionally offers some pop against a righthander, as he did in the Yankees' 5-3 win over the Mets Saturday.

Granderson's two-run home run off Mike Pelfrey in the fourth inning broke a tie at 3 and gave Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera all the cushion they needed to complete the team's first victory in four games.

Despite that home run, Granderson said he doesn't know if he'll be in the lineup this afternoon. Lefthander Johan Santana will be on the mound for the Mets, meaning there's a good chance Granderson will start on the bench.

"I just come in ready to play no matter what's happening, and you look at the lineup every day," Granderson said. "I always have to look at the lineup now, especially considering how I've batted second or eighth and I could be in there or could not be in there. I've always got to be ready."

When the Yankees gave up major league-ready prospects Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy in a three-team trade for Granderson last December, it was easy to think they were getting their centerfielder for years to come. And maybe Granderson will be just that.

But judging from his brief introduction as a Yankee thus far, it seems clear that he's far from a finished offensive product.

For all the pop he offers against righthanders, he is equally bad against lefthanders. Because Granderson missed about a month with a groin injury, his statistical baseline still is a small sample. But it's noteworthy that his .882 OPS against righthanders and .569 against lefthanders are not far off his career splits of .894 against righties and .610 against lefties.

It's easy to think that Granderson's slow overall start - he's hitting .240 with a .324 on-base percentage - would be getting more attention in another season. But the Yankees are defending champions and off to another great start, plus his struggles pale in comparison to, say, Mark Teixeira's.

So Granderson is afforded an opportunity to quietly get accustomed to New York.

"Everyone said it's going to be an adjustment and I just kind of wanted to see it for myself where those differences were," he said. "So far everything has been pretty normal across the board. It's still baseball when it's all said and done."

If Granderson can build on his fourth-inning home run, he could provide a big lift to a bottom of the order that has been lacking pop recently. Batting seventh Saturday, Granderson lined Pelfrey's down-and-in 2-and-2 curveball over the rightfield fence.

"The big thing there was making sure to make contact with two strikes and put the ball in play," he said. "It's funny I say that because in the later at-bat with runners on second and third, I didn't do that."

With runners on second and third and one out in the eighth, Ryota Igarashi challenged Granderson with a full-count fastball clocked at 95 mph, and Granderson swung through it. "Sometimes you're able to succeed," he said, "and sometimes you're not."

The challenge for the Yankees with Granderson is finding the middle ground.

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