Yanks' Curtis Granderson to start

Updated: March 31, 2011, 9:10 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees expect Curtis Granderson to be starting in center field on Opening Day on Thursday.

Manger Joe Girardi has Granderson slated to hit eighth against his old teammates in the Detroit Tigers.

Granderson has been out for a little more than a week because of a strained oblique on the right side of his abdomen and had not swung a bat against pitching until Tuesday.

On Wednesday, Granderson tested the oblique in Tampa in a minor league game and is scheduled to fly up to New York and be in the lineup on Thursday when the Yankees face the Detroit Tigers. An official announcement of the move could come on Wednesday.

Granderson hurt the oblique on a check swing. On Tuesday, he batted for the first time in a simulated game and came through feeling confident he would be able to return.

The Tigers traded Granderson to the Yankees prior to last season. In his first year in the Bronx, Granderson hit .247 with 24 home runs and 67 RBIs. However, after hitting coach Kevin Long changed Granderson's swing in August, Granderson showed dramatic improvement and there is a feeling that he could be a 30-homer guy this season.

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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