TAMPA, Fla. -- Curtis Granderson packed his bats and his equipment into his rental car as he left the Yankees' Minor League complex early Wednesday afternoon. He's only heading across Dale Mabry Highway, but Thursday will be a big step forward for Granderson and infielder Jayson Nix.
Granderson and Nix will join Class A Advanced Tampa on Thursday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field against the Charlotte Stone Crabs. Granderson said he's scheduled to start in left field and play five innings in his first Minor League rehab game. He will likely remain with the Tampa Yankees through the weekend before the team re-evaluates his progress.
"I think you have to give him some at-bats to see how he feels," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Granderson in Arlington. "He hasn't had a ton of at-bats. I think to be fair to him, you have to give him some at-bats."
Nix, out since July 1 with a strained right hamstring, began his rehab assignment Wednesday, going 0-for-2 with a strikeout while playing five innings for the Gulf Coast League Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.
"Things are getting good," Granderson said. "The main thing now [is taking more] at-bats. Game at-bats are obviously going to be a good thing, and we'll start that tomorrow."
The 32-year-old outfielder has played only eight games for the Yankees this season, dealing first with a fractured right wrist, then returning to the disabled list on May 25 with a fractured left pinky. After another long recovery process, Granderson said the rehab assignment came about quicker than expected. He's taken part in only three simulated games, so his timing at the plate isn't quite up to speed.
"Everything else is good," Granderson said. "Arm, legs, defensively -- all that good stuff. Now, it's just a matter of innings. Five innings, that's going to be a lot, because I haven't done that. We'll see how everything rebounds back, but [a return to the Majors] should be hopefully sooner than later.
"I'm excited to get a chance to go tomorrow. It kind of came up on me quickly over the past week. I knew we were starting the sim games and everything, then, next thing you know, I'm packing my bags up today."