Commentary

Curtis feels Grand on two-homer day

Outfielder keeps approach consistent despite inconsistent first season in Bronx

Updated: July 26, 2010, 9:41 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson calls it "the feel."

What you saw from Granderson on Sunday -- two solo homers in four at-bats -- is an example of what he can do when he has it.

The problem is, "the feel" has been fickle for the New York Yankees center fielder in his first season in the Bronx. Even after his performance on Sunday, Granderson is hitting just .244 with nine homers and 26 RBIs.

"That's kind of the way the season's been going," Granderson said of his 73-game tenure in pinstripes thus far. "Just going out there, continue to stay positive and hopefully everything result-wise will start to work itself out. Today was one of those days. There's a lot of games still left to play, hopefully I'll have a couple more."

Curtis Granderson
AP Photo/Kathy WillensCurtis Granderson went yard in the third inning, and again in the fourth.

Granted, he sat out 24 games in May with a left groin strain. But Granderson's average and power numbers are well below what many expected out of the Yankees' top offseason acquisition, who hit 30 homers and drove in 71 runs for Detroit in 2009.

And while Granderson's performance in the recent nine-game homestand (9-for-33, nine runs scored) is reason for manager Joe Girardi to be optimistic, the center fielder wasn't ready to say he had turned the corner on his tough start to 2010.

"I hope so, but you never know where it's going to be," said Granderson, whose batting average is a career low through 73 games. "If things go the other way tomorrow, keep the head held high. Continue to go out there and keep swinging it."

If the Yankees had been struggling as a team (at 62-35, they're off to their best start since 1998), it's fair to say that the center fielder's struggles would be heavily scrutinized.

But with the Bombers heading into a seven-day, seven-game road trip with the best record in baseball and three games up on the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, there has been little noise over Granderson's rough start in 2010.

It also helps that Johnny Damon -- the guy Granderson essentially replaced in the Yankees lineup -- isn't exactly tearing the cover off the ball in Detroit. Damon was hitting .280 with six homers and 29 RBIs entering play Sunday. Austin Jackson, whom the Yankees sent to the Tigers as part of the three-team trade to land Granderson, was hitting .312 entering Sunday's games.

It doesn't sound like Granderson is burdened by comparisons to Damon and Jackson. It also seems like he isn't bothered by the pressure of the Big Apple. He says the transition to New York has been "pretty easy."

Days like Sunday -- when he finds "the feel" -- certainly help with the adjustment.

"Sometimes you got the feel, sometimes you don't," he said. "Even after batting practice today I was still trying to look for it and search for it. Throughout the course of the game, you got it, you lost it … and somehow, you end up getting two home runs today."

Granderson just hopes he can find it again Monday night in Cleveland.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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