Granderson moved to two-spot in batting order
NEW YORK -- It was just 65 at-bats, but they were 65 highly visible at-bats. Curtis Granderson entered Sunday hitting .140 in his first 16 games as a Met, and most of those struggles have come as the team's cleanup hitter. That's about to change, though, and Granderson was listed as the No. 2 hitter on Sunday.
The new spot in the order didn't exactly jump-start Granderson, who went 0-for-6 and left five men on base, but he did launch a walk-off sacrifice fly to win the game for the Mets in the 14th inning.
Prior to this season, Granderson had rarely hit in the No. 4 slot, and the Mets think that may have played into his early struggles. Now, they like the idea of Granderson batting high in the order, where he can be more patient and get on base in front of David Wright and Daniel Murphy.
"I've been thinking about doing it for a few days," said manager Terry Collins of making the move. "On the off-day, I had a little chance to look at his history. He's got great numbers hitting second, no matter where he's played. I just said, 'You know what? Maybe that's the spot for him.' I know that with the rate right now that [Eric Young] is getting on, maybe he'll get some fastballs to hit."
Granderson has logged career-best numbers in both on-base percentage (.359) and slugging (.546) out of the No. 2 slot, and he's batted there more than any other spot except leadoff. Collins just wants the veteran to feel comfortable, and after that, he wants Granderson to get hot and stay hot.
"He works as hard as anybody. He's going to get it going," he said. "Everybody wants him to do so well because he's such a great guy. ... He's a perfect example of a guy that didn't play very much last year. Playing at this level, when the bright lights come on, it takes a little while to get used to it."
Indeed, Granderson was hampered by injuries and missed most of 2013, playing just 61 games in his final season with the Yankees. Granderson performed well in Spring Training, and he said Saturday that it's only a matter of time before the production translates into the regular season.
"You've got to get pitches to hit. And once you get those pitches to hit, you can't miss them," said Granderson. "Once you do that, you've got to give credit to the defense out there. They're going to be trying to do whatever they can to catch as many of them as they can. The thing is to find grass. Once you get some grass and put a little dirt on the ball, things start to move in your direction."
Granderson had a four-game hitting streak last week, but he's batting .143 with just one extra-base hit in his last eight contests. He's had only one multihit game this season. The Mets know that everybody slumps at some point, though, and they're not overly worried about starting slow in April.
"We're starting to see some bright spots," Collins said of Granderson's at-bats. "As always happens, everybody wants immediate results. I continue to go back to the fact that I've had history with guys who are slow starters. He's not necessarily one of those, but I know when he gets it going, he can carry it. I just don't think not playing him is going to help him. I think he's got to play."