Mar 24, 2010, 3:45 PM EDT
As expected, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees will open the season with Curtis Granderson in center field and Brett Gardner in left field.
In his limited big-league experience as a center fielder Gardner rates exceptionally well statistically and Granderson’s glove showed signs of decline last year, so Sherman notes that “the Yankees had come to spring training open minded about the possibility of Granderson playing left and Gardner manning center.”
However, he adds that since then the Yankees have not seen a significant enough gap between them defensively “to move the more established player off of his position.” And of course if Gardner ceases being a starter at some point–which is certainly more likely than the same scenario for Granderson–the Yankees can just replace him in left field without having to rmove Granderson back to his old position.
Regardless of the alignment New York’s outfield defense figures to be improved this season, if only because they’ll likely have several hundred more innings of Gardner and 1,100 fewer innings of Johnny Damon.