Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Less Thinking, More Hitting

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Less Thinking, More Hitting

Article excerpt

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The subject was home runs and Curtis Granderson launched into a story from his first Yankees season.

He hadn't gone deep during spring training of 2010, but on opening night at Fenway Park Granderson belted a homer off Josh Beckett in his first Yankee at-bat.

"See?" hitting coach Kevin Long told Granderson after he'd rounded the bases. "Swing the bat."

Granderson then flashed to a memory from last year's camp.

He'd strung together a couple of passive at-bats and Yogi Berra - - who seldom saw a ball he couldn't take a hack at -- took notice.

"Yogi was all over me because I was taking a lot of pitches," Granderson said. "He goes, 'Go up there and swing the bat.' "

So next time, Granderson walked to the plate with one prevailing thought: "Wherever it is, I'm swinging."

"And sure enough, it ended up being a home run," Granderson said.

Berra's "I-told-you-so" moment was refreshed again Saturday afternoon during the Yankees' Grapefruit League opener on a crazy windy, intensely sunny Saturday afternoon at Bright House Field.

After doubling in his first at-bat, Granderson homered to the opposite field the next time up.

OK, so it was a wind-aided fly ball that gusted over the fence. Still, it was a reminder that only Toronto's Jose Bautista hit more homers last year than Granderson's 41.

"Got to take advantage of the elements," Granderson said after the Yankees' 8-5 victory against the Phillies. "As long as you put a decent swing on it, you had a chance."

With his aggressive approach and his streamlined batting stance, Granderson might be the game's most dangerous No. 2 hitter.

And in just two plate appearances Saturday, the lefty-hitting center fielder displayed both of his most intriguing elements; his ability to neutralize lefty pitching and his 40-homer power.

"It's just picking up where he left off," manager Joe Girardi said. …

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