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Yankees' Granderson feels linked to Tigers' Damon

The Yankees' Curtis Granderson, right, hugs former manager

The Yankees' Curtis Granderson, right, hugs former manager Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers before a spring training game in Lakeland, Fla. (Mar. 10, 2010) Photo Credit: AP

LAKELAND, Fla. - While the players weren't traded for each other, Curtis Granderson knows the perception.

That he and Johnny Damon were basically swapped for each other, a byproduct of the Yankees trying to get younger and more athletic in the outfield.

But his desire is people understand the two go about their business their own way.

"Hopefully on both sides the comparison can be made realizing that each player's a little bit different," Granderson said.

One area he mentioned showing Damon in a better light is on-base percentage. Damon's career OBP is .355 while Granderson's is .344. Last season Damon's was .365; Granderson's was .327.

"I haven't historically been a big on-base guy, hopefully that will change," Granderson said. "You always want to get on base somehow but that's not necessarily my goal going in, hey, we want to be on base .400 percent. If it happens, it happens, but Johnny has done that traditionally in his career. Hopefully at the end of the day both sides are happy with the moves that they made."

Granderson more than had the edge Wednesday, going 2-for-3 with a walk and making the play of the day in the field, chasing down Miguel Cabrera's fourth-inning drive to center and making the catch "about three feet" short of the 420-foot sign.

Damon, meanwhile did not play, sitting out with a stubbed toe that occurred while he was "running around the yard" at home. He said if it was the regular season, he plays, "No doubt about it."

Damon repeated much of what he said in February at his introductory news conference here - that he had hoped to return to the Yankees. He had even made January telephone calls to Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman.

"I talked to Hal and the minute he said it's not going to work out, I said OK, thank you," Damon said.

He said, "I'm happy with where I'm at," and again stressed there was no bitterness toward the Yankees, whose players, many of them at least, greeted him before the game.

"Secretly they all miss me," he said.

He paused for several seconds and laughed. "Openly, they all hate me."

Notes & quotes: Two others involved in the Granderson deal, LHP Phil Coke and OF Austin Jackson, played. "I was very upset," Coke said of the trade. "I mean, it's a funny thing. You get brought up with a specific team, you spend your whole career there, and you feel like you got kicked to the curb." . . . Mark Teixeira kicked Coke around, leading off the third with a monster homer to left-center. Austin Jackson went 1-for-4 . . . Minor league catcher Josue Rodriguez and pitcher Israel Tolentino of the Dominican Summer League were each suspended 50 games for positive drug tests.


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