Brett Gardner says it doesn’t matter which outfield spot he plays this season, although he does admit he considers himself a natural center fielder who is more comfortable there than in left.
But “as of now, there are no plans to do anything” about switching Gardner and the Yankees’ regular center fielder, Curtis Granderson, Joe Girardi said Tuesday. Still, the Yankees manager also noted, “It’s something that I’m sure will be talked about a little bit.”
It’s a topic that also came up before Granderson had even played a game for the Yankees, but he has spent the last three years as the club’s center fielder. Girardi believes Granderson “played pretty well last year” and noted that sometimes a position change has a ripple effect on players, and Granderson is the Yanks’ best home run hitter.
“You’re talking about a guy who’s extremely important to our lineup,” Girardi said. “Do you want to (move him)? Some people think a position change affects a bat. Do you want to do that? That’s something we would have to think about. Do we think the focus of him playing left field might take away from what he does offensively? Those are things you have to weigh.
“It’s just not, ‘Do we make a switch?’ It’s not that easy. As of right now there have been no decisions to change it. Leave him. He’s done a pretty good job — offensively and defensively, he’s done a pretty good job the last two years.”
Still, a potential switch obviously is something that has been on team officials’ minds over the past few years, considering that they brought it up publicly again over the winter.
If any changes are made, Girardi suggested that they would have to be done early in camp so the Yankees have enough time to evaluate the switch and switch back, if necessary.
Gardner, meanwhile, is concerned with bigger things. After missing all but 16 games last season because of an elbow injury that required surgery, he knows this is a big year for him.
“I’m not going to try and play it down, but you say that every year, going in,” Gardner said before a workout at the Yanks’ minor-league complex on Tuesday. He added, “I didn’t really get to play much last year, so I’m dying to get out there and compete.”
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Yankees field questions, but answer is still Granderson in center
New York Daily News | Feb 13