New York Yankees: How Curtis Granderson Missing Time Would Impact the Lineup

Teresa RocaCorrespondent IIMarch 28, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL - MARCH 14:  Outfielder Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees bunts for a single against the Boston Red Sox during a Grapefruit League Spring Training Game at City of Palms Park on March 14, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

The Yankees just can’t catch a break.

After dealing with an ailing Joba Chamberlain, Sergio Mitre and Greg Golson this spring, the oblique strain is back and is now affecting key player Curtis Granderson.

The right muscle strain caused the hitter to be scratched from the lineup on Tuesday and may deprive Granderson of participating in Opening Day on Thursday against his former team, the Detroit Tigers.

Despite improvement from Granderson, there is still a change he may not be ready for Opening Day. Although it only took Mitre days to overcome the strain, it took Chamberlain 10 days and Golson two weeks to fully recover.

Rushing players back with this type of strain will most likely end badly.

Yankees Manager Joe Girardi told the Daily News, "We told him, look Curtis, we don't need to rush this back where you say 'I have to play by Friday or Saturday.' You don't have to do that. Let's just make sure that when you're ready to go, you're ready to go.”

Despite starting off 2010 as one of the more dominant Yankee players, Granderson has had his ups and downs with the team, posting a .247 batting average with the Yankees last season.

Facing some difficulties on the plate, Granderson finished April with just a .211 batting average; this slump continued throughout the summer.

Thankfully for the Yankees, Granderson performed to his full potential from September throughout the playoffs, recording a .455 batting average in the ALDS against the Minnesota Twins and a .294 in the ALCS against the Texas Rangers.

Before becoming injured, Granderson’s success continued throughout Spring Training, recording a .385 batting average in 15 games.

"I know the guys more, I know the facility more, the coaching staff more," Granderson told reporters of the Daily News, "This year will be very similar in mentality to every other spring training except for last year. I'm excited about that. Everything is just normal again."

With Granderson feeling more comfortable and apart of the Yankees, when he is fully recovered from this strain (hopefully by Thursday), Granderson is expected to play as well as he has been.

If unable to play by Thursday, Brett Gardner will go back to his old position and replace Granderson in center field as Andruw Jones is a candidate to play left field.

Jones recorded a .230 batting average last season with 19 home runs, 12 doubles and one triple with the Chicago White Sox.

Another favorite to replace Granderson is outfielder Chris Dickerson (.267). The player went 3-for-3 with a RBI and a double on Saturday against the Pirates at Steinbrenner Field before getting taken out of the game due to cramps and hamstring spasms.

If healthy, he will most likely replace Granderson over Jones in left field.

Granderson being unable to play on Opening Day would impact the lineup, as he has more experience than Dickerson and is a better hitter and outfielder than either of these players.

However, the Yankees offense is performing up to par, leaving them to be in good shape until the Grandy man returns.