March 7th, 2010
When a team wins a World Series championship, it’s not
uncommon for the following spring training to be filled with optimism.
When the World Series champions add an All-Star
centerfielder and a starting pitcher who finished fourth in the Cy Young Award
voting the previous season, the excitement is heightened and thoughts of a
dynasty fill the crowded seats.
That’s what the atmosphere around George M. Steinbrenner
Field feels like these days, thanks to the Yanks acquisitions of Curtis
Granderson and Javier Vazquez … and because of the players who will be
returning from the 2009 championship team.
In addition to Mark Teixeira, who swatted 39 home runs and
Alex Rodriguez who hit 30 home runs (despite starting the season late due to
injury), and Nick Swisher who blasted 29 home runs and Derek Jeter and Robinson
Cano who batted .334 and .320, respectively, the Yankees lineup will now
feature Curtis Granderson. Granderson hit 30 home runs last season.
In the cover story of the Spring Issue of Yankees Magazine, which came out on
Friday (March 5), I discussed the likelihood that Granderson’s numbers will be
even better this season. He’ll be playing 81 home games in Yankee Stadium,
where the right-field wall is 15 feet closer to home plate and the centerfield
wall is 12 feet closer to the dish than at his old ballpark, Comerica Park.
And more importantly, all of those great hitters that
Granderson is now surrounded by will make it difficult for opposing pitchers to
avoid throwing strikes to the 28-year-old.
“Curtis is going to see a lot more pitches that he can drive
this year,” A-Rod said in January. “I wouldn’t be surprised if his numbers
don’t jump this year.”
I couldn’t agree more.
–Alfred Santasiere III