5/18/2013 2:38 P.M. ET
Granderson plays right field for first time in Majors
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson's versatility is only matched by his affability. The Yankees lined Granderson up for his first Major League game in right field Saturday against Toronto, and the longtime center fielder assured his manager that he wouldn't have a problem at the new position.
"When I talked to him about it, he was like, 'Fine. No problem,'" said Girardi. "Curtis is just here to play. He wants to win and he's the type of guy that will do anything you ask him to do. ... Sometimes you don't know how those conversations are going to go, but it was very easy."
Granderson, a three-time All-Star, has made 1,040 of his 1,046 starts in the Major Leagues in center field, but the Yankees are more comfortable with Brett Gardner in that slot. Granderson's year started late due to a broken bone in his right forearm, and he's played just four games since his return.
Two of those games came in left field -- also a new position for the veteran -- and another came at designated hitter. Granderson did play both left field and right field during a rehab stint with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and Girardi knows he's capable of doing it.
"I feel pretty good about him going into right field," Girardi said. "This way, two of the other guys are in the same spot. Grandy can play anywhere for us. I believe that. He's that talented of an outfielder."
So what's the big deal about switching spots? Granderson, 32 years old, has had to run down balls from gap to gap in center, and now he'll have to contend with the side wall in the corners. The ball also looks different coming in from another angle, but Girardi downplayed that aspect.
"There's less room to run in right. That's probably the biggest thing," Girardi said. "When a left-hander pulls the ball, it's going to be similar to when a right-hander pulls the ball. That's the bottom line."
Joba moving closer toward rehab assignment
NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain may be getting closer to a return to the mound. Chamberlain, who has spent the last two weeks on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle, threw a long-toss session Saturday and will throw one more bullpen session before going out on a rehab assignment.
Chamberlain, who has been limited to less than 30 innings in each of the last two seasons, said Saturday that he feels good and he's just trying to make sure it stays that way.
"Everything's good," he said. "I'm just getting everything around it strong so we can get it done with and not let it linger. I'll continue to play long toss, throw a bullpen and get back going on rehab."
The right-hander has made one appearance for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, and he's notched a 3.86 ERA in 10 relief outings for the Yankees. Chamberlain, who was placed on the disabled list on May 3, said that he doesn't want to rush back and aggravate the injury.
"You take care of it in May so you don't have to take care of it in August," he said. "I'm not a patient person. That's for sure. But just to know that it's one of those things that can linger, people have rushed back and it's bothered them. To take a few extra days isn't the worst thing in the world."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.