According to Bryan Hoch (MLB.com), manager Joe Girardi “said that he knows Granderson can play left or center field without issue and believes that Gardner can learn to play left. While Granderson is athletic enough to go back and forth between left and center depending on if Gardner is in the lineup, Girardi said he would prefer to have players in a set position.” This is an important aspect when deciding who will play left and who will play center for the Yankees in 2010. If the club has significant doubts about Gardner’s bat that cannot be alleviated by his defensive value, you could see them play him in left so that they have the option of improving the position at the trade deadline. If they were to play Gardner in center, only to see him get exposed over the course of a full season, then the club would likely have to find another left fielder – good left fielders are more available than good center fielders – which would then force Granderson to shift to center midway through the year. That does not appear to be an ideal situation for Girardi.
While it may not matter who plays center or left field defensively, it will matter with regards to roster flexibility.
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