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Granderson starts in left, notches hit in rehab game

Yankees slugger could return to New York as early as Tuesday

Special to

MOOSIC, Pa. -- Another day in a Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre uniform meant another hit for Curtis Granderson. The rehabbing New York Yankees slugger recorded his eighth hit during his stint with the Yankees' top affiliate, leaving his checklist before returning to the Yankees possibly complete.

Granderson played left field for a second time with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and batted second. Defensively he didn't see any tough plays, but was forced to make a few catches during twilight hours of a 6:35 p.m. ET start in Moosic.

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His first at-bat put Granderson's progress on display. Gwinnett Braves left-hander Yohan Flande pitched him consistently inside, but Granderson was able to drive a ball to deep right field. Fellow rehabbing slugger Jason Heyward of the Braves made the catch as he neared the wall. With the wind quiet at PNC Field, a different night might have resulted in a home run on the hard-hit towering fly ball.

While it was less powerful, his second at-bat proved to be much more successful. Once again, Flande tried to work inside on Granderson, but he was able to pull a pitch into right-center field for a base hit. The knock marked his eighth as a RailRider in just his fifth game of action. The leadoff single proved to be fruitless for the RailRiders, as Granderson was stranded at second base.

He hit another line drive in the fifth inning. With a man aboard, Granderson powered a Flande fastball to deep center field, but Todd Cunningham was playing deep and was able to make the catch.

Granderson had perhaps his final rehab at-bat in the seventh. He worked a walk against left-handed reliever Cole McCurry, prompting a pinch-runner off the RailRiders bench. The at-bat was especially impressive, considering the amount of inside pitching by McCurry.

If Monday night was indeed Granderson's last game before his return to New York, he will have put up impressive numbers. During his stay with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Granderson has eight hits, one home run and three RBIs. He's played right field as well as left and displayed no ill effects when getting pitched inside.

"I think that's about it, we did a lot of stuff down in Tampa, [Fla., and here]," said Granderson prior to Monday's game.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Monday that he plans to hold a conversation with Granderson about a potential return date, which could come as soon as Tuesday.

"I've always said -- when Grandy feels like he's ready, come on," Girardi said. "We want him back in our lineup. If he says he's ready to go, then he's ready to go. Whenever [the conversation] takes place, we're open arms."

The Yankees hope Granderson is ready and can produce the same way he did for the RailRiders.

Andrew Kappes is a contributor to

New York Yankees, Curtis Granderson