Curtis Granderson said his struggles against lefties aren’t all that they seem.
“In order to have gotten to have gotten to the big leagues, I had to hit lefthanded pitching and I’ve done it,” Granderson said early Monday afternoon after working out at the minor league complex. “Just over the past couple of years I’ve run into a couple bumps in the road. Hopefully we can go ahead and straighten that out.”
Still, Granderson did fly to Arizona in January to work with hitting coach Kevin Long, who diagnosed a “breakdown” the outfielder was having against lefthanders.
“I just get over the plate a little bit,” Granderson said. “Mentally I’m trying to hit the ball the other way and that therefore makes me physically break down. As you try to coil up a little bit, of course you’re going to uncoil; if you start yourself open, you’re going to go ahead and close. Whatever you do there’s always going to be a reverse reaction, so his main philosophy was, let’s just stay straight. If you’re here straight then you’re going to have to go back straight, and that position puts you in the best situation to be successful. That’s not going to work all the time but at least you’re going to give yourself a better chance.”
Granderson, making his first appearance at the complex this spring, said he’s well aware of the talk regarding a possible switch to left field. And it was Joe Girardi who made him aware.
“He called and asked, hey, how do you feel about that and be honest with me if you don’t [want to] let me know,” Granderson said. “I said I’m able to do that and/or move up and down the lineup. I’ve batted every spot pretty much except for the third spot. So I have no problem moving, switching, bouncing around wherever it happens to be.”
Speaking specifically of left, Granderson said: “I have no problem doing it,” Granderson said. “People forget that I came up as a left fielder. In the minor leagues all the way up until Double-A, I didn’t start playing center field consistently until my second year in the minors. And even when I came to the big leagues I played a few games in left…I have no problems going back over there if it happens to be.”
As for showing up well in advance of the position player report date, Granderson said he’s always done that.
“Being from Chicago, I’m limited on what I can get done in Chicago,” Granderson said. “So getting outside, seeing the sun for the first time, hitting outside, throwing outside, all those different things. And you have a certain intensity level at home and once you finally get down around your teammates, you pick it up just a little bit again.”
*** Granderson took BP with Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Eduardo Nunez and Francisco Cervelli, all of whom were at the complex last week. Gardner and Granderson worked together in center on various drills, then spent about 30 minutes working on bunting with third base coach Rob Thomson.
A.J. Burnett also made his first appearance of the spring, playing catch briefly in the morning.