KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Curtis Granderson was scheduled to play his third game for the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders on Saturday night, serving as the designated hitter against the Gwinnett Braves, but his career as a RailRider might be drawing to a rapid conclusion.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that Granderson, who suffered a broken right forearm in his first at-bat of the spring back on Feb. 24, could be back at Yankee Stadium as soon as Tuesday night, when the Yankees open a six-game homestand against the Seattle Mariners.
Granderson played eight innings in left field for the first time on Friday for the RailRiders, and hit a game-winning two-run home run. When asked if Granderson could be ready to return by Tuesday, Girardi said, "I don’t know. He’s getting at-bats under his belt. I know he’s feeling better but I don’t want to put a date on it. I know everyone wants a date but the date is for me when he says he’s ready."
Granderson has two hits in eight at-bats for the RailRiders, and had an unknown number of at-bats in extended spring training games in Tampa last week. He led the Yankees with 43 home runs last year, and hit more home runs (84) than anyone else in baseball over the past two seasons. Upon his return, Granderson, who has been the Yankees; everyday centerfielder since he was acquired from the Detroit Tigers before the 2010 season, is likely going to play one of the corner outfield positions while Brett Gardner remains in center field.
But Girardi is primarily looking for Granderson to return to his lineup, which has performed well in his absence but still lacks a legitimate home run threat in the middle. "He's a big bat for us," Girardi said. "He's a guy that has the opportunity to hit home runs and drive in runs as well. It would mean a lot."