Barring any really unforeseen setbacks in the next few hours, all expectations are that Curtis Granderson will rejoin the Yankees and return to the lineup this weekend. He wasn't in the Double-A Trenton lineup yesterday and Josh Norris reported that he was off to rejoin the team in Cali. There was no formal confirmation or announcement by the team - they were basically on media blackout yesterday with the A-Rod stuff still hanging out there - but I can't imagine they would give up a day of rehab ABs for C-Grand if they and he were confident he was ready. Personally, and I don't think I'm alone here, I'm hoping to see him back tonight.
Whether it's tonight or tomorrow, the return of Granderson to an already upgraded lineup should bring that lineup up out of the "upgraded" category and back to a level more befitting of a competitive Major League team. While "good" would still be a bit of a stretch, these boys should now be at least respectable against both righty and lefty pitchers.
They're scheduled to face big right hander Andrew Cashner tonight, so having to hit the pitcher throws things off. If I'm not in San Diego and I'm Joe, this is how I'm filling out my lineup card:
1) Gardner- CF 2) Jeter- SS 3) Cano- 2B 4) C-Grand- LF 5) Soriano- DH 6) Overbay- 1B 7) Ichiro- RF 8) Nix- 3B 9) Romine- C
That lineup looks a helluva lot better than what the Yankees have been rolling out for the past few months. Yes, that's partially because there have been some absolutely cringe-inducing lineups these past few months but whatever. I'm trying to be positive here. Even against a lefty things would look a lot better:
1) Gardner- CF 2) Jeter- SS 3) Cano- 2B 4) Soriano- DH 5) C-Grand- LF 6) Wells- RF 7) Overbay- 1B 8) Nix- 3B 9) Romine- C
It doesn't strike fear into the hearts of men. It's also not the free pass it's been. There are multiple power bats stacked one after another for the first time since Teix was "healthy." There are real productive power threats where they're most needed in the heart of the order. There are guys at the bottom of the order who can at least put a productive at-bat together. And if Joe really wanted to say "let's get nuts!" he could try out Soriano or Wells at first base and use them to platoon for Overbay so Ichiro can play right field and stay in the lineup.
If you're a Yankee pitcher right now, you have to be feeling better about your chances when you take the hill. It's nowhere near the best lineup $220 mil can buy, nor is it anywhere near the lineup the Yankees were expecting to have at this point of the season, but it's deeper, it's more powerful, and it's at least enough to be competitive and give the team a consistent chance to win ballgames. There's probably going to be an adjustment period for Curtis this first week or so back. If he can find his game quickly after that, he can be a much needed force in the middle of the lineup.
(Photo courtesy of MiLB.com)