When Curtis Granderson returns, he'll man center for Yankees

You'll be seeing more of this in 2013. (Getty Images)

The Yankees had (wisely) been planning to start Brett Gardner in center and slide Curtis Granderson over to left field. Now, though, things have changed.

Granderson's forearm fracture, which will likely sideline him until the middle of May, has complicated the Yankees' plans, and now manager Joe Girardi says Granderson will remain in center field upon his return. From MLB.com's Bryan Hoch:

"We don't really have the chance to work on it," Girardi said. "It's just something that I've thought about. I don't know how many games he would have in his rehab coming back, and that's a concern for me. So I want him to be comfortable wherever he's at, because his bat's real important to us."

Girardi added that if the Yankees take outfield prospect Melky Mesa on the roster to begin the season, he would play Mesa in center field and have Gardner in left field.

This is unfortunate for the Yankees, as Granderson is really stretched as a center fielder these days. By far, the best outfield arrangement has Gardner manning center, and that's because Gardner is an elite defender.

Granderson has spent 59 2/3 innings in left field in his major-league career, so he's not completely foreign to the position. While Girardi's stated reasoning makes some sense, this seems like an awfully conservative decision by the Yankees -- and one that will hurt their chances in 2013.

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CBS Sports Writer

Dayn Perry has been a baseball writer for CBS Sports since early 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for FOXSports.com and ESPN.com. He's the author of three books, the most recent being Reggie Jackson: The... Full Bio

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