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February 11, 2011

Yanks' Granderson aims to continue progress at the plate

TAMPA, Fla. — Curtis Granderson's description of his first season with the New York Yankees pretty much mirrored most people's.

"It had some ups, it had its downs," the centerfielder said Friday at the minor league complex. "But we made it through."

Granderson started 2010 slow, was further slowed by a left groin strain that kept him shelved for most of May, slumped badly upon his return, but had a strong finish to his season, including in the playoffs.

He finished the regular season hitting .247 with 24 homers — a career high — and 67 RBI in 136 games.

"Stat-wise, they are what they are," he said. "I never read too much into them. If I would have batted .500, if I would have batted .005, same thing I just looked at it as, was I helping the team win ballgames and sure enough, we made it to the playoffs so I was able to help in some way."

Granderson's hope for 2011 is to continue the progress made starting in mid-August when hitting coach Kevin Long adjusted his swing.

It was not makeover, Granderson said, more a case of simplifying his swing by cutting down on excess movement.

"We don't need a lot of moving parts," Granderson said. "As long as we're in the right spot, as little movement as possible and get ready to attack the baseball."

Granderson hit 10 homers and drove in 26 runs in his final 30 regular-season games and was among the team's postseason standouts, hitting .357 (10-for-28) with a .514 on-base percentage and .607 slugging percentage. After Aug. 12, Granderson hit .286 against lefties. Before that he was hitting .206 against them.

He spoke with Long earlier this week and is looking forward to getting started.

"It's always great just to get outside again," Granderson said. "The gym is great, I can do everything I need to. But it still doesn't simulate the sky and the size of the field and the intensity of the coaches and other players. It's always good to get down here."

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