The New York Yankees will be without one of their best players for at least the first month of the 2013 season.
Curtis Granderson suffered a broken right forearm on Sunday afternoon in a Spring Training game when he was hit by a pitch from the Toronto Blue Jays' J.A. Happ. The outfielder is set to miss 10 weeks, and likely won’t return until the first week of May.
New York doesn’t necessarily have to make a trade to acquire a replacement for Granderson. If he doesn’t suffer any setbacks, he should be healthy for most of the season. Alfonso Soriano and Vernon Wells have been mentioned in trade rumors, but the club probably won’t add an expensive contract to the payroll.
Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera are the team’s current options to join Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki in the outfield. Diaz hit .222 in 51 games for the Atlanta Braves last year. Rivers hit .244 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
On Sunday, Yankees prospect Ronnier Musteilier replaced Granderson in left field. The 28-year-old has never played in the Majors, but has had some success in the minor leagues. Until the Yankees sign another outfielder, Musteilier will have a chance to impress Joe Girardi and the rest of the coaching staff.
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There’s a good chance the Yankees will sign a free agent to play the games that Granderson will miss. Even before the injury, the club was expected to struggle this year. With an aging team that lost key players like Nick Swisher and Russell Martin, as well as Alex Rodriguez for half the year, New York won’t have an easy time making the playoffs.
A few former Yankees are currently without a team, and could prove to be valuable additions that can produce for a month in the starting lineup.
Bobby Abreu left the Big Apple in 2008 after playing two and a half seasons in the Bronx. Now, the outfielder is a free agent and in a position to help the Yankees.
The 38-year-old struggled with the Dodgers and Angels in 2012, hitting .242 and three home runs in 257 at-bats. Still, he managed to get on base 35 percent of the time, which is above the league average. Having proven he can perform in New York, Abreu could find himself back in pinstripes.
Johnny Damon is also a possible fit with the Yankees. He left the club after the 2009 season, but played a big role in helping New York win the World Series.
Damon has expressed his desire to continue his career, and New York might be the perfect place for him. After hitting .222 last year, he won’t be a permanent starter for any team, but could be given a handful of games to show that he still has something left. He had a lot of success utilizing the short porch in Yankee Stadium’s right field, and could use that to keep his career alive.
The Yankees will open the season with a game against the Boston Red Sox on Apr. 1.