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04/16/10 12:24 AM ET

Winn in left field for first start of 2010

Switch-hitter trying to keep skills sharp in part-time role

NEW YORK -- When the Bleacher Creatures' roll call swings around the outfield Thursday, they'll have a new face to acknowledge.

Randy Winn makes his first Yankees start as manager Joe Girardi shakes up his lineup against Angels lefty Scott Kazmir.

The 35-year-old switch-hitter gets a kick out of watching Nick Swisher salute the right-field bleachers on a regular basis, but he hasn't been cooking up oddball reactions during his time waiting to get a start.

"Probably with my personality, it's going to be nothing spectacular," Winn said. "I'll acknowledge it, but it won't be anything like Swish, I can assure you that."

Winn has found his way into seven of the Yankees' eight games so far, and is 0-for-2 at the plate.

"I would have loved to get him some more at-bats early on, but it is what it is," Girardi said. "With all the days off, you also wanted to keep our regular guys going. You worry about guys a little bit when they haven't had at-bats, but sometimes that's when guys get three hits, too."

Winn began his career as a part-time player with the Rays in 2000, so the role isn't completely foreign, but he said that timing is the biggest issue in keeping skills ready for action.

"The speed of the game, when you don't play, offensively and defensively," Winn said. "It's hard to simulate game speed, live pitching, playing balls off the bat. You can play in BP, but it's a step or two faster during the games."

Speedy Granderson burning up basepaths

NEW YORK -- It may still be early, but Curtis Granderson is quickly giving Yankees fans an idea of what they can expect from him in pinstripes.

Granderson showcased the speedier aspects of his game by tripling twice in the Bombers' 6-2 victory over the Angels on Thursday, becoming the first Yankee to notch a pair of three-base hits since Bobby Abreu against the Twins on May 30, 2008.

"It's the longest play," Granderson said. "Once it goes over the fence, everybody's done. Most guys don't sprint around the bases, you've already celebrated your high. On the triple, you never know if the guy is going to make it or not."

Triples are familiar for Granderson, who has accomplished Thursday's feat for the fifth time in his career (last on Aug. 18, 2008 at Texas). Granderson became the first Yankee to triple in consecutive at-bats in the same game since Clay Bellinger on Aug. 26, 2000, at Oakland. He is hitting .333 through 36 at-bats with New York.

"It's always a good thing to go ahead and get hits anytime, whether they be early or late," Granderson said. "The fact that they happen to come early, hopefully we can just continue to add to that. A lot of things are going to happen. There's going to be some ups and downs right now, but for the most part, as a team, as long as we continue to play well, I'm going to be happy."

Park irritates hamstring in Yanks' win

NEW YORK -- Chan Ho Park irritated his right hamstring while warming up during the Yankees' 6-2 victory over the Angels on Thursday and will be re-evaluated Friday afternoon by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad.

Park said he felt a "mild" twinge while throwing his last few warmup pitches, which prompted bullpen coach Mike Harkey to call to the dugout and report the injury to manager Joe Girardi. Park said that he might have a MRI taken on Friday.

While pitching for the Phillies last year, Park suffered a right hamstring injury on Sept. 16 that put his postseason status in doubt. He returned for the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers and excelled against the Yankees in the World Series, hurling 3 1/3 scoreless innings in the Fall Classic.

"Having the hamstring problem last year, it almost ended the season," Park said. "This is a different spot. That was tough, but today I just felt it a little bit. It was a little overstretched."

Girardi: Vazquez will shake off struggles

NEW YORK -- One day after Javier Vazquez remarked that he felt it was "unfair" that Yankee Stadium fans booed him one home start into his pinstriped return, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he believes the right-hander can shake off the opening jitters.

"Javy wants to do well. That's the thing," Girardi said Thursday. "No pitcher wants to go out there and not win ballgames. He didn't pitch that bad of a game yesterday, but it is what it is here. The fans have booed everyone, pretty much, on this team."

Girardi would know. He had a rough beginning after joining the Yankees in 1996, needing to sit down for chats with coach Don Zimmer and his wife, Kim, to help him understand that he was being booed because the fans missed popular catcher Mike Stanley. He said that it didn't seem to subside until Dwight Gooden's no-hitter on May 14.

"It's because they care," Girardi said. "They have high expectations just like everyone else in that clubhouse. I think Javy is going to be fine, I think he'll be able to handle this."

At the least, Vazquez has some company. Even Derek Jeter was booed in the Bronx in 2004, when he endured a 0-for-32 skid.

"What do you want them to do?" Jeter said. "My family was booing me, too, and they're at the games. What do you really expect? They want you to do well and that's all you can say."

Of course, the fans who booed Vazquez on Wednesday were likely less concerned with the four runs he allowed to the Angels than their lingering memories of the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox, when Vazquez served up a curse-reversing grand slam to Johnny Damon.

Girardi made sure to note that Vazquez did not pitch in every game of that doomed ALCS. Of more pressing concern to the Yankees was Vazquez's fastball velocity, which dipped into the high 80s instead of the usual 90s. That forced Vazquez to turn to his changeup more often, and it hurt him in the end.

"I saw him a little quick with his lower half, and that was causing his arm to drag," pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "That was affecting his velocity. It's something we've been working on. It's something that can be fixed and we'll start working on it on the side. Look at his track record -- he's going to be fine. It's two starts."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.