Thames instead of Granderson Tuesday?

April, 5, 2010
Granted, it was before Curtis Granderson got off to a rollicking good start as the new Yankees centerfielder Sunday night, but manager Joe Girardi raised the possibility that with Jon Lester starting for Boston Tuesday night, Marcus Thames -- the last position player to make the 25-man roster -- might get a start in the outfield.

"We have not made a lineup for Tuesday, but that was one of the reasons we went and got him, because of his success off of lefthanders,'' Girardi said. "So you can start him against lefties or pinch-hit him. And he’s a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark.''

The numbers don't quite bear out Girardi's claim -- Thames' average vs. lefties in eight big-league seasons is a so-so .256, as opposed to just .234 vs. righties, and he has homered at roughly the same rate -- about once in every 15 at-bats.

But it might indicate Girardi's concerns about Granderson's well-documented difficulties hitting southpaws, against whom he has batted just .210 in his career (and .183 last year). Despite having a terrific game overall Sunday night, including hitting a 455-foot homer in his first Yankees at-bat and making a great leaping catch up against the fence to rob Adrian Beltre, Granderson's struggles became apparent when he looked bad striking out against Scott Schoeneweis in the fifth inning.

Girardi gave the players the day off from everything on Monday. No workouts, no media access, no nothing. After Sunday's 9-7 loss, a TV reporter asked Derek Jeter if it was "hard having a day off following a loss like that.'' Jeter had to stifle a smile before responding, "No, sir. Nothing difficult about a day off. Nothing at all.'' Then he walked out of the clubhouse chuckling.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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