Granderson improving against southpaws
Center fielder putting in extra time with Yankees' hitting coach
NEW YORK -- There wasn't much Curtis Granderson could do this spring to erase the belief that he has trouble hitting left-handed pitching. His 2009 batting average against southpaws, a paltry .183 mark, hovered over him as a large question mark coming into his first year with the Yankees.
The only thing Granderson could do was put in extra time with hitting coach Kevin Long to correct his flaws, and most importantly, get a few hits. Granderson came through with a big double off lefty Tony Sipp in Sunday's 7-3 victory over the Indians, and the Yankees have seen improvement.
"It's just part of the game," Granderson said. "You go out and continue to work, and continue to look to improve. No matter what, there's always something you can do. In everyone's career, even the best players in this game, there's always something they couldn't do."
Granderson also had a double off Sipp on Friday and owns eight hits in 34 at-bats against lefties this year, a .235 average. While Granderson isn't lighting up the leader boards, he is also showing that he isn't an automatic out.
"His at-bats have been pretty good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I don't always look at just numbers; I look at at-bats. He's hit the ball deep to center a number of times off of lefties, he's had a couple of hits off of Sipp in this series.
"He looks comfortable. He's getting a good pitch and putting a good swing on it, and hitting it hard. We've been happy with his at-bats against lefties."
Granderson entered play on Monday as a lifetime .210 hitter against lefties, and said that he recognizes that he still has a long way to go to completely erase all of his issues. It's a challenge that he welcomes.
"It gives them something to write about," Granderson said. "It's been my mark since they started writing about me in Baseball America after I got drafted. I was too slow to play center field, I didn't have enough power to play the corners, I was going to be a fourth outfielder -- all these different things that people kept saying I can't do.
"I haven't done anything to eliminate all the conversation. I definitely by no means feel like I've been feeling great up there at the plate. I'll continue to work. That's the only thing that we're trying to do."
Teixeira calls homer No. 250 'semi-milestone'
NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira was able to celebrate his 250th home run in style on Sunday, a three-run shot that helped lift the Yankees to a 7-3 win over the Indians, but it also served as a reminder of how far a climb he has ahead.
The 30-year-old slugger broke into the big leagues in 2003 and has hit as many as 43 homers in a season (2005), and tied Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena for the league lead last year with 39 homers in his first year with New York.
Yet the round mark of 500 -- still achieved by only 25 players in history -- is not within striking distance. Teixeira called No. 250 "a semi-milestone."
"I've got a long way to go," Teixeira said. "That just shows how many home runs 500 is. I [feel like] I've been playing for 20 years and I'm halfway there. Hopefully there's a few more to come."
But Teixeira has some good company and a solid head start. On Sunday, he became just the 13th player in history and fourth active player (also Adam Dunn, Todd Helton and Albert Pujols) to hit at least 250 homers within his first eight seasons in the Majors.
Teixeira joined Darryl Strawberry as the only players among the group to play for the Yankees at any point in their careers. The other players who have accomplished the feat are Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, Ralph Kiner, Eddie Mathews, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.
Posada declares himself 'ready to go'
NEW YORK -- Ever since the hairline fracture in his right foot was revealed, Jorge Posada has promised to be back sooner than the original prognosis of three to four weeks. Eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, Posada is close to fulfilling that promise.
Posada did his first running exercises before Monday's game with the Indians. The catcher simulated three doubles, scoring from second three times and ran an additional five or six sprints. Afterward, Posada said he was feeling good and felt "ready to go."
"It's progress every day. No setbacks," Posada said.
Once Posada started hitting earlier in the weekend, showing he could run without any lingering limp from the injury was one of the final hurdles the Yankees' catcher had to clear.
"He ran great today for me. I didn't see any hindrance," manager Joe Girardi said after the Yankees' 11-2 win against the Indians. "To me, tomorrow is a big day to see how that foot actually feels after taking that little bit of a pounding. If that foot feels good, he's close."
The Yankees have not declared whether Posada will need a rehabilitation assignment in the Minor Leagues before returning to the big league lineup. Posada himself said he would prefer to avoid a trip to the Minors. The catcher thinks he may be able to play as early as Tuesday.
"I'd rather be here, to tell you the truth. It's whatever they decide, but I'd like to be here," Posada said. "Now, I'm telling them that I'm available. I'll see what they do."
If he does need a rehab assignment, Posada would likely play for either Double-A Trenton or Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- both of which are home this week.
Dave Robertson (lower back tightness) reported improvement and said that he feels like he could pitch Monday if needed. ... The Yankees entered play Monday 20-17 on Memorial Day since 1971, when the holiday first began to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. New York did not play on Memorial Day in 1973, 2004 or '05. ... The Yankees held a pregame ceremony at home plate on Monday with wounded veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project as part of MLB's Welcome Back Veterans initiative. Sony Recording artist 4Troops performed the national anthem.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.