Results tagged ‘ Curtis Granderson ’

Verlander, Granderson, Rodney teammates again for All-Star Game

The last time Curtis Granderson played center field behind Justin Verlander, he came up with a game-saving diving catch in the eighth inning. Fernando Rodney had already relieved Verlander at that point, on his way to his last save of a Verlander start.

That was the last scheduled regular-season game of 2009, a  Tigers win that kept them alive for the one-game AL Central tiebreaker known as Game 163. Everyone knows how that story ended, and the dealing that happened afterwards — Granderson traded to New York, Rodney lost to free agency.

For one All-Star Game, they’ll all be teammates again, along with Miguel Cabrera. It wasn’t lost on Granderson, now a Yankees star.

“Justin’s obviously a great competitor,” Granderson said Monday. “He’s been a great teammate coming up. We made the team together in ’06, got a chance to be a part of a World Series together, and he’s continued just to blossom and grow and be one of the best pitchers in the game right now. And there’s no question why he’s the starter tomorrow.

“He’s dominant and he’s a guy that everyone talks about has the ability to throw a no-hitter every time he steps on the mound, and that’s a credit to him working hard and continuing to set the bar high.”

Verlander was a 19-game winner back then, a budding young arm still finding his full repertoire of pitches. He has found it in the two-plus years since Granderson became a Yankee.

“I would say, if anything, he’s found more ways to get you out,” Granderson said. “He used to trust, ‘Hey, I’m going to throw the fastball by you and I’m going to have a lot of success,’ but now he kind of messes with you a little bit.

“He knows he’s got the fastball. He’s got different fastballs now, some that are 91-93 [mph] and some that are 98-99. And any one can come out at any time. He’s got the changeup working now. He’s got the big curveball that he’s always had. And he can do it at any time. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lefty or a righty, if you’ve had some hits off of him or if you haven’t, he’s got a good chance to get you out every time you step out there.”

Granderson, too, has blossomed, from one of the game’s great young center fielders into an All-Star starter and one of the most recognizable Yankees outside of the core group that has been there for years.

As for Rodney, that 2009 season was supposed to be his career year, a 37-save season that saw him blow only one save chance. He got the final four outs of that Verlander win, then tossed 48 pitches over three-plus innings two days later at Minnesota. At the very least, it was his payday season, drawing a two-year, $11 million contract offer from the Angels that winter. He recorded 17 saves over the course of that contract.

This year has been better, earning him his first All-Star selection. He’d still like one more chance to save a Verlander win.

“I’d like to be back in again to close behind Verlander,” Rodney said. “Whatever I have to be, I want to be the pitcher they go to.”

Three Tigers win Negro League Legacy Awards

One more set of awards for you, this one from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City: Justin Verlander did not win MVP honors this time, but he earned the AL’s Bullet Rogan Pitcher of the Year award. Former Tiger Curtis Granderson won the AL’s Oscar Charleston Award for MVP. Jose Valverde won the AL’s Hilton Smith Award for top reliever. Miguel Cabrera, meanwhile, was the winner of the Buck Leonard award for top batting average in the league.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum established the Legacy Awards in 2000 to honor baseball’s best with awards given in name and spirit of Negro Leagues legends such as Charleston, Rogan, Smith, Leonard, Josh Gibson and Buck O’Neil. The awards are scheduled to be presented in Kansas City on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012.

Granderson, Thames remember tiebreaker

One year ago Wednesday, The Tigers and Twins were down to a one-game battle to try to get into the postseason, and needed extra innings to do it. The ramifications of that AL Central tiebreaker still linger with the two clubs today. The Twins are building on a potential division dynasty, now coming into the AL Division Series against the Yankees. The Tigers are still building to try to get back.
Two guys in Minneapolis right now to try to beat the Twins in the postseason Wednesday night know that pretty well. That tiebreaker loss on the other side of downtown at the Metrodome was the final game in a Tigers uniform for Curtis Granderson and Marcus Thames. 
“I think it’s arguably one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of,” Granderson said Tuesday, “even though we came up on the losing side of things. But the ups and downs, the back and forths, the long innings in that game, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world. 
“I certainly hope we don’t have that for all five games here. It’s going to be a real long series [if we do]. But to be in a situation and have a chance, that’s exactly where you want to be, and I think that’s where both teams are right at this point right now.”
By both teams, he meant the Twins and Yankees, of course. While Granderson went to New York in the Austin Jackson trade last December, Marcus Thames signed as a free agent after Detroit released him.
Thames did not play in the tiebreaker loss, or in any of the final three scheduled regular season games that led into it. The fact that he didn’t start in the tiebreaker despite his success off starter Scott Baker (8-for-26 at the time wth four home runs and six RBIs) lingered with him. He’s moved on, but he still hasn’t forgotten it. Thames did face Baker in his final game as a Tiger, but it was five days earlier at Comerica Park, where he went 1-for-2 with a single and a hit-by-pitch.
“I was a little upset I didn’t get to play in that last game,” Thames said. “With my career numbers off Baker, it didn’t sit too well in my stomach. But I was a team guy. I sat up there and rooted for the team. But it’s a whole different story. I turned that page when it was over, and I’m ready to chip in and contribute with the Yankees. Being able to face these guys pretty much through my career, I pretty much know how they’re going to try to pitch me and stuff. So I get a chance to go out and compete.”

Eyes on Granderson, or Granderson on eyes

Plenty has been speculated about why Curtis Granderson had certain struggles so much against lefties and got a late read on some fly balls. Some questioned his commitment to baseball, of all things. Others have questioned the coaching.

What hadn’t popped up was his eyessight, at least until recently. But Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News has the story: Granderson is wearing contacts after being diagnosed with 20/30 vision.

When the trade was awaiting review of medical records, it was reported that one holdup was an eye exam the Yankees requested for Granderson, though he didn’t undergo one leading up to the trade. Once the trade was completed, though, the Yankees had him take another eye exam.

Granderson isn’t blaming eyesight for anything. It isn’t that 20/30 is necessarily bad eyesight. For a professional baseball player trying to recognize pitches coming out of a pitcher’s hand, or immediately read how well or how poorly a ball was hit off the bat, as Granderson struggled to do at times, it’s easy to see how even a little problem makes a huge difference.

For what it’s worth, the Tigers have players undergo eye exams each season around the start along with their physicals.

UPDATE: Leyland was asked about this on Friday morning. His answer was similar to the paragraph above.

“We had him all checked out, like we do all our guys,” Leyland said. He had a thorough eye examination and everything. I mean, he hit 30 home runs.”

Granderson defends his community work

As I wrote in my story on Curtis Granderson’s charity basketball game Sunday, it was fitting that one of Granderson’s last events in the Detroit area was a community work. As much as he has done on the field, his off-field work really made an impression.

For almost everyone, that impression has been a positive one. Still, some — or maybe one — made it an issue for scrutiny in the days and weeks after Granderson’s trade to New York. Was he doing too much?

Granderson has stayed out of that debate, but when he was asked about Sunday, he admitted he was perplexed about that it’s even worth bringing up.

“It’s amazing how, you know, so much is talked about players not doing something [to give back],” Granderson said after Sunday’s game. “Then I do something, and now that’s the reason why everyone thought I was playing bad. But yet, my involvement with so many different things — from my book, to my foundation, to education, the RBI program — is very minimal.

“My book ["All You Can Be"] took two days. That’s it. Two days. Everybody thinks it took a lot longer. I did autograph signings on an off-day. When I mentioned with RBI and countless organizations, it’s really just my name, and that I support them. They may have an event, but there’s a good chance I’m probably playing and not there. So there are a lot of things the resume, but it’s not that time-consuming.

“It’s amazing what’s OK to spend your time on and what’s not. If I were married and had kids, that’s OK. But the fact that I’m helping out everyone else’s kids, there seems to be a problem with that.”

Granderson said he really isn’t sure where the pushback is coming from. But it’s clearly something worth defending himself against.

“It’s been talked about over the past two years, I think,” Granderson said. “And honestly, the busiest year was 2007, which was arguably my best year.

That was the year Granderson hit 20 doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases along with a .300 average.

“I was doing two school visits a day and then coming to the ballpark, and then two more the next day,” Granderson continued. “Then we had all the Tigers events. We were establishing the [Grand Kids] foundation. We were doing autograph signings. I had the blog I was doing three times a week versus one time a week. All these different things, and it was arguably the best season. So I can’t put too much into what’s happening off the field correlating with on the field.”

Dombrowski on Granderson, leadoff

One of the questions that came out during the morning Q&A session with Dave Dombrowski was the oft-asked question about who will be Detroit’s leadoff hitter. Dombrowski said they don’t have have a traditional leadoff hitter in line for this season, but they didn’t last year, either. That drew some surprised reactions from the crowd. One fan could be heard saying, ‘Wow.’ Dombrowski clarified his remarks as he went along, then rephrased it a bit when talking with reporters later.

Here’s the quote:

“We really didn’t have a leadoff hitter last year, as far as your traditional leadoff numbers. I mean, I’m not taking away anything from Curtis’ performance, but when you look at leadoff numbers, those last year were ones where we scuffled at times, especially versus left-handers. So we didn’t have a traditional, on base percentage, high stolen bases, that type of thing out of that role. We had a guy who hit hte ball with pop in that [role], and very good. So I don’t think we’ll have the traditional leadoff hitter once again. We don’t have that type of guy. I don’t know who we’ll have hitting No. 1 at this point.”

Granderson fundraiser hoops game still on for Jan. 24

What began as Curtis Granderson’s annual offseason fundraiser has now become his chance to say thank-you and goodbye to his fans in metro Detroit. Before the former Tigers All-Star heads off to Spring Training with the Yankees, he’ll host a collection of local athletes and personalities on the basketball court for his third annual Celebrity Shootout on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Grand Kids Foundation, which will continue to try to enhance the lives of students in Michigan’s inner cities and emphasize the importance of education.

Granderson was in the planning stages of the event when he was traded to the Yankees Dec. 9 for Austin Jackson and Phil Coke. He decided to continue on with the fundraiser.

“This will also be an emotional event on a personal level, as it will be somewhat of a goodbye from me to the fans and the city that have supported me so strongly throughout my career so far,” Granderson said in a statement. “I hope that those fans can pack the gym and also raise a lot of money for inner city education in Michigan.”

Granderson will serve as a referee for the game. Detroit Pistons star Ben Gordon and University of Michigan coaching legend Lloyd Carr will serve as coaches.

Among the former local collegiate stars scheduled to attend are former Michigan Fab Five members Jalen Rose and Jimmy King, both of whom currently work as basketball analysts on television. Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will also be taking part, as will former Michigan State football standout and NFL running back T.J. Duckett plus ex-NBA player Jeff Grayer.

Shootout players on the celebrity side include reigning World Series of Poker champion Joe Cada, a Detroit area native, as well as FSN Detroit anchor/reporter Trevor Thompson, Dateline NBC correspondent Chris Hansen, ESPN personalities Jemele Hill and Dana Jacobson, Biggest Loser season 7 winner Helen Phillips and runner-up Mike Morelli, local traffic reporter Erin Nicole and Fathead.com CEO Pat McInnis.

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for students with a valid student ID, and are available online at grandkidsfoundation.org and curtisgranderson.com. Admission is free for kids ages two and younger.

Tigers teammates react to trade

Can’t say what Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera — or Carlos Guillen, for that matter — think of the Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson trade, but got a sampling from a couple current Tigers.

Why does this matter, you ask? Because it matters to manager Jim Leyland.

“I think one of the big keys is how well our veteran players react to this,” Leyland said Wednesday. “If they react the proper way, with a positive attitude and the proper approach, I think this is gonna work out great. I really do.”

Catcher Gerald Laird, himself the subject of trade rumors this offseason, tried to put a good face on it. He talked with his younger brother Brandon, a Yankees prospect, about the talent coming over from New York.

“It’s tough to lose two guys like that, to lose one of your top of the rotation pitchers and your starting center fielder which was a big part of our success and a big face-of-the-franchise type guy with the community and the team,” Laird said. Obviously, it’s a tough trade because they’re two really good guys. But I’m sure Dave [Dombrowski] and the organization have their mind set on a direction they want to go, and I’m sure they’re making decisions they feel is best for the team.”

It’s a direction change Laird wasn’t completely foreseeing when the Tigers lost their AL Central tiebreaker two months ago.

“You look at it and, yeah, we didn’t get to where we wanted, but we felt like we had a really good year,” Laird said. “We felt like we had a really good core of guys. To lose those two guys, that’s when you think, ‘Wow.’ [Granderson] is a big time player, and he’s definitely going to help New York out. He’s a tough player to lose. The guy is a remarkable talent and a remarkable person. But I feel we have a good group of core guys that I think can help us win.

“It’s one of those things where guys are going to step up now. I’m sure Nate’s ready to bounce back and Bondo. I think we’re still going to be a solid rotation, but to lose a guy like [Jackson], it’s definitely tough.”

With the shift towards youth, Laird said, comes some added responsibility.

“It’s going to be up to the veterans to welcome these guys and help them out as much as we can. The better they fit, the better they’re going to be.”

Laird was playing golf when he heard the news.

“I kind of just shook my head and said wow,” he said.

Reliever Zach Miner, now potentially an elder statemen in a young Tigers bullpen, took a pragmatic look at it.

“I think all of us understand the way the business of baseball works,” Miner wrote in an email. “It would be
naive of any of us players to think we would have the same teammates all of our
career, and if management and the coaching staff feel this was necessary to keep our
team moving in the right direction, then we have to trust their judgment.

“That
being said, it will be hard to replace Curtis and Edwin’s production for our
team, and in my opinion impossible to replace Curtis’ leadership in the
clubhouse, on the field, and in the community.”

Granderson/Jackson trade is official

It's a done deal: the Tigers have sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees and Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Austin Jackson and Phil Coke. The three GMs are scheduled to have a news conference at 4:30 pm. Look for that on MLB.com if you're not by a TV.

Granderson, Jackson deal agreed upon … now the wait

The Tigers, Diamondbacks and Yankees have agreed in principle on their trade, sending Curtis Granderson to New York and Edwin Jackson to Arizona. For now, however, the trade is still pending final reviews. Granderson hasn’t yet heard from the Tigers, much like Andrew Miller didn’t hear from the Tigers after he was in the Miguel Cabrera trade. In fact, Granderson hasn’t heard from the Tigers for a while now, which wasn’t a good sign in itself.

I think everybody anticipated the fallout from this deal was going to be big. Judging from what I’m hearing from folks back in Detroit, it’s huge. How that follows over the coming days as the reports and the interviews unfold is going to be very interesting.

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