Print and Go Back ESPN.com: New York Yankees [Print without images]

Friday, August 2, 2013
Pregame notes: Grandy back, Nunie at 3rd

By Wallace Matthews

SAN DIEGO -- Finally, its time for The Grandy Man, Take 3.

Take 1 ended on his first at-bat of the spring, when Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ busted his right forearm with an errant pitch. That cost Curtis Granderson the first 38 games of the season.

Take 2 ended eight games after he returned, when Rays pitcher Cesar Ramos shattered Granderson's fifth metacarpal on his left hand. That cost him the next 60 games.

Now, he is back, not as a center fielder but in left tonight, although he is expected to return to center on nights Brett Gardner needs a game off. Granderson, who hit a major league leading 84 home runs in 2011 and 2012, is hitting fifth tonight in Joe Girardi's power-deficient lineup, but Granderson said not to expect an immediate power surge.

"I don’t plan on a complete turnaround just because myself or anyone else ends up returning back to the lineup," Granderson said. "Now you have a couple more pieces you can move up and down, in and out of the lineup. It will give Joe some more weapons to go out there with, hopefully slowly start picking away, get a couple more runs here, couple more hits here and get hot.”

• After declaring last season that Eduardo Nunez was a shortstop, period -- and sending him down to the minors to concentrate on becoming a better one -- the Yankees, out of necessity, have moved Nunez back to third base, for tonight at least, in place of the struggling Jayson Nix. This time, Nunez's preparation consisted solely of taking some pregame grounders at third before Wednesday night's game against the Dodgers in L.A., and he jokingly said before the game, "It wasn't enough."

Joe Girardi obviously disagrees, because he said Nunez would get a shot at becoming the Yankees' everyday third basemen, at least until -- or is it if? -- Alex Rodriguez returns to the lineup. "We’ll evaluate every day what we think, but we’re going to give him a shot," Girardi said.

• There was a noticeable increase in the amount of media, especially broadcast media, around the Yankees on Wednesday night in L.A., and again tonight in San Diego, because of the anticipated A-Rod suspension, but Girardi said he did not think all the hoopla was becoming a distraction for his team. "If it is, I haven’t sensed it," he said. "I haven’t had guys come in and talk to me. I don’t know if [PR exec] Jason [Zillo] has had guys come in and talk to him. I think if you’re a New York Yankee you understand that at some point, there’s going to be something."

• In order to add Granderson to the active roster, the Yankees optioned OF Melky Mesa to Triple-A Scranton, and in order to clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the Yankees designated OF Thomas Neal for assignment.

Phil Hughes, who will face his old teammate Ian Kennedy in Sunday afternoon's series finale, put on quite a show in batting practice, crushing three home runs, including two into the old warehouse that is incorporated into the left-field corner of Petco Park.

• This is the Yankees' first-ever trip to Petco, which opened in 2004. Their last trip to San Diego was in 2002, when they took 2-of-3 from the Padres at Jack Murphy (later Qualcomm) Stadium, the site of their 1998 World Series sweep.

CC Sabathia is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in four career starts vs. the Padres, but has never started against them as a Yankee. The last time he faced them was in 2008 as a Milwaukee Brewer. Padres starter Andrew Cashner has never faced the Yankees.