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Stretching the Field: The Grandy Man ... can?
By Shawn Clarke, Contributing MLB Editor
(SportsNetwork.com) - The lights in New York aren't as bright when playing for the Mets as opposed to wearing Yankees' pinstripes.
Curtis Granderson understands both concepts, and his short tenure with the Mets this season is unsatisfying.
Granderson played three productive (four total) seasons with the Bronx Bombers before the Mets generously opened their wallets to the tune of four years, $60 million back in December. One can't blame Granderson for switching New York clubs and the Yankees probably didn't blink after watching Granderson play in only 61 games in 2013 and record seven home runs and 15 RBI.
The lean Granderson, who displayed extraordinary power for a guy who looks more like an NBA point guard the majority of his career, played at least 136 games in his first four seasons with the Yankees and combined for 84 homers, 225 RBI and 238 runs scored over 2011-12.
Granderson, a three-time All-Star, was bothered by forearm and pinkie issues caused by being hit by pitches last season and amounted a .229 batting average. His numbers haven't improved at all in 24 games (85 at-bats) with the Mets as evidenced by a .129 batting average, one home run, seven runs scored and seven RBI. Granderson has just 11 hits on the season and the Mets are a surprising 7-3 in those games he gets a hit.
Imagine how many more wins the Mets would have had Granderson not been mired in an April slump. He has one multi-hit game this season and it came back on April 3 in a loss to Washington, but Granderson's not concerned because he has been in this kind of rut before.
"I have had 0-for stretches before," Granderson told the club's website. "It's obviously not the best thing, but it's not the end of the world. You take as much positive from it as you can.
"0h-for-22 or 22-for-22, you just have to forget about it. I think having done it before makes you realize it is going to turn."
The Mets are second in the National League East behind the talented Atlanta Braves and have a surplus amount of optimism with Granderson and Chris Young joining forces with David Wright. Granderson's troubles at the plate must have rubbed off on Young, who is hitting .194 with two homers and five RBI.
Is the New York media and fan base to blame for such high expectations? It's only April, but it seems to be playing a role.
Granderson had a shining moment with a walk-off RBI single in a win over Miami on Friday, but is 0-for-7 at the plate in two subsequent games. Granderson, the first Mets player in team history with two game-ending RBI in the same April, said he continues to work with Mets batting coach Dave Hudgens and is trying attack the ball in the strike zone. Not chasing pitches and moving his body too much in the box is another drill.
The Mets were hoping Granderson would be drilling the ball more than what's actually taking place. Would general manager Sandy Alderson pull the deal off the table had he known Granderson's first month would be a disappointment? Probably not because there's plenty of potential left in the young slugger. All Granderson has to do is work on seeing the ball better, study upcoming pitchers and relax at the plate.
Yes, that's easier said than done because most T-ball players struggle to make contact. Granderson is a proven star in the major leagues and right now can't hit his way out of a wet paper bag.
Yankees radio legend and play-by-play announcer John Sterling called Granderson the "Grandy Man" when he did something special. Sterling would have only one chance to say that this season.
A former teammate of Granderson, current Yankees ace CC Sabathia, isn't concerned with his friend's slow approach in the batter's box.
"It's baseball, man," Sabathia told NJ.com. "I know Curtis has been playing a long time. He's a (veteran). He knows how to turn a page."
But when will Granderson turn the page?
"That guy's got the greatest attitude I've ever been around," Sabathia continued. "He's dealt with failure better than anybody I've been around. I'm sure he'll come out of this and perform well over there."
Granderson could still be teammates with Sabathia, but he rejected the Yankees' qualifying offer after last season. Now he is a pleasure to have in the Mets' clubhouse, according to manager Terry Collins. Collins said Granderson is very outgoing with his new teammates and is such a friendly guy.
Pitchers could care less how friendly a batter is because they're trying to retire him at the plate. In fact, pitchers not on the Mets roster would love to see Granderson continue his slump throughout the summer. Sabathia is one of those opposing hurlers, but is hoping for Granderson to bounce back.
If Bob Seger can take the stage in the spotlight, then Granderson should be able to play star again and turn the page.
04/29 12:43:58 ET