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Granderson upbeat about lineup, Pineda

Curtis Granderson celebrates his first-inning homerun against the

Curtis Granderson celebrates his first-inning homerun against the Mets at Yankee Stadium. (May 22, 2011) Credit: Jim McIsaac

BOSTON -- Coming off what in many respects was a career season in 2011, Curtis Granderson doesn't feel pressure to duplicate it in 2012.

"With this team, you don't have to be the guy that is relied on to do it," Granderson said Monday night at Fenway Park. "Obviously, we have some great guys who can be the guy, but the fact [is], none of them have to know that going in, 'OK, I have to carry my team.' It's a great thing that it could be 1 to 9."

Granderson, who had a career-best 41 homers, 119 RBIs and 136 runs in 2011, was in town to serve as a panelist for former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein's Foundation to be Named Later, a charity assisting disadvantaged children.

Among others on the panel -- which discussed small market vs. large market dynamics in the sport -- were Epstein, now the Cubs president of baseball operations; Ben Cherington, the man who replaced Epstein as Red Sox GM; Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine and Pirates GM Neal Huntington.

Granderson, who said he plans to head to Tampa on Feb. 10 -- the team's first full-squad workout is Feb. 25 -- is excited about the Yankees' offseason, particularly their acquisition of Michael Pineda from the Mariners. Granderson faced the 6-7, 260-pound righthander only three times last season, going 0-for-1 with two walks, but the at-bats were memorable.

"Physically, just a big presence," he said. "His numbers speak for themselves; I think he had over 170 strikeouts . Definite power pitcher, that was the report on him, and he came out, he came right at you. I knew he was confident. He wasn't intimidated by the Yankee lineup, and that's going to fare well for him coming to the American League East."

Valentine, making what seemed like his 200th appearance since being named Red Sox manager, said the schedule hasn't been overwhelming. "It's not tough,'' he said, "it's enjoyable."

Delcarmen invited. The Yankees have extended a spring training invitation to righthander Manny Delcarmen, 29, who last pitched in the majors in 2010 for the Red Sox and Rockies.

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