06/04/10 7:00 PM ET
By Tim Britton / MLB.com
Not yet tip-top, Granderson still a spark
TORONTO -- Curtis Granderson insists his return to the lineup over the past week hasn't been seamless. It's just looked that way.
After missing 27 days with a groin strain, Granderson has been a spark in the Yankees' lineup since returning May 28 against the Indians. He has hits in all six of his starts over that stretch, including five over the past two entering Friday's game in Toronto. But even as he's batted .417 and played a flawless center field, Granderson admits he isn't 100 percent.
"There's always difficult things that aren't able to be seen from a stat point of view," said Granderson, adding that he's still trying to get his legs in complete game shape. "It's difficult, because the easiest way is to condition them and lift them but we can't overdo it because I've still got to play.
"I'm not sure how close I am, or if I am there and it's just I've got a normal June feel, where you're going to have games where your legs are tired and you have innings that seem a little longer than others."
To that end, manager Joe Girardi is planning to give Granderson the day off on Saturday. After that, he said the center fielder should be "full go."
"Full go" implies playing every day, and Granderson will get that chance not just because he's been compiling hits, but because he's collecting them off fellow left-handers. His ability to hit lefties was the biggest question mark surrounding the Yankees' acquisition of the center fielder, and during the first month of the season, he was just 5-for-31 off southpaws.
Granderson has almost matched that output in the past seven days alone. Starting with his key double off Indians reliever Tony Sipp in his first game back, Granderson is 4-for-7 off lefties since returning from the disabled list. That includes a second double off Sipp and a solo homer off Orioles southpaw Brian Matusz on Tuesday.
"[It's] first putting the ball in play and second, putting it in the right spot," said Granderson, who has been taking batting practice from his southpaw hitting coach, Kevin Long. "I know it's not Major League pitching, but it's the consistency. Also, him not just throwing me strikes all the time, getting me to recognize balls and strikes. Those things can't be hurting the situation."
Granderson went on to say that the ambiance of positivity fostered by the Yankees only helps.
"One of the things that this team has done really well is everyone has confidence in everyone's ability on the field no matter what's going on," Granderson said. "Things that even seem bad, there's always something positive that individuals and the coaching staff make out of it. That's always a good thing to have in a game that has so many negative things that happen."
Eiland takes personal leave from Yanks
TORONTO -- Pitching coach Dave Eiland is not currently with the Yankees in Toronto and has taken a personal leave of absence, according to manager Joe Girardi on Friday.
"Dave Eiland took a personal leave of absence and will be gone as long as he needs," Girardi announced before Friday's series opener at Rogers Centre. "That's all I'm going to say."
In Eiland's absence, bullpen coach Mike Harkey will serve as the pitching coach while scout Charlie Wonsowicz will replace Harkey in the 'pen.
"We'll carry on," Girardi said. "Obviously, Dave's very valuable to us and we're going to miss him. Just like when you have a player go down, people have to pick up and help out. Everyone will help out, and we'll make it work."
Girardi did not specify either a reason or a timetable for Eiland's absence.
Girardi not eager to expand replay
TORONTO -- One day after Commissioner Bud Selig's statement that the League would look into expanding instant replay, manager Joe Girardi said he doesn't want technology to take over the game.
"There's always been human element in the game. I don't think we should take that away where you do everything with videotape and a robot. I don't want to see that," Girardi said. "My concern is always the rhythm that your pitcher stays in and the rhythm that your players stay in. That's extremely important to me."
Girardi said even the delays to determine boundary calls on home runs often lead to a "lull" that can affect a pitcher's rhythm. He added that he learned as a broadcaster how much slower the game appears when you're not on the field.
"It moves quick when you're out here; it moves slow when you're up there," Girardi said pointing up to the stands. "When you're playing it, it's fast. ... When we look at [replay], we see it moving slow and think, 'How can they miss that?'"
While Girardi did acknowledge that replay in the National Football League has generally been a success, he didn't know how he'd feel about it if he were a coach on the sidelines.
"To me, it's different because I'm not on the field," he said. "When you're a fan of the game, when there's a replay, we might get something to eat. You're in the comfort of your own home, and you might get up and go do something."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.