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Yankees' Gardner adjusting well to leftfield

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner leaps

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner leaps to catch a fifth inning fly ball hit by Pittsburgh Pirates' Lastings Milledge. (March 3, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

TAMPA, Fla. - Brett Gardner made the catch of the day playing an unfamiliar position.

"I probably made it more difficult than it should have been," Gardner said of his running catch on the track in leftfield of a wind-blown, fifth-inning drive by the Pirates' Lastings Milledge. "Just trying to get acclimated out there."

Gardner was in left Wednesday while Curtis Granderson was in center. Joe Girardi has said each will get time at both positions as the spring moves along, and neither player has expressed much care about the matter.

"I felt comfortable out there," Gardner said. "I always feel comfortable on defense, it doesn't matter where I'm at. There's a lot of room for improvement, not only in there but in center. The best way to get better is to be out there in a game."

Granderson said he expects to "flip-flop" with Gardner this spring - which he's fine with - and also to be moved around in the order. Granderson (0-for-2) hit second, but no conclusions should be reached on that.

"We want them on base," Girardi said of his priority for a No. 2 hitter. "On-base percentage is extremely important to me because the guys behind him can all hit the ball out of the ballpark."

Granderson's career OBP is .344; Nick Johnson's is .402.

Granderson, who has hit in every position in his career for at least two games, isn't lobbying for the No. 2 spot.

"Will I be there? I really don't know," he said. "I'm not going to be happy or mad regardless because no matter what the situation happens to be, I have to go ahead and get my job done in that position."

Extra bases

Joba Chamberlain missed Tuesday's arcade outing, and his bullpen session, because of flu-like symptons, but he threw Wednesday and said he was still in line to pitch Friday against the Rays . . . Alex Rodriguez said before the game he had not been interviewed by federal authorities or by anyone from MLB relating to the investigation of a Canadian doctor accused of drug violations, including the distribution of HGH. "Nothing new to report," he said. He said he would talk more after the game but left without doing so . . . George Steinbrenner attended the game, joined in his suite by, among others, his sons, Hal and Hank, and son-in-law Felix Lopez.


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