Results tagged ‘ Kevin Long ’

Yanks’ Granderson can’t wait for spring

I had a chance to chat with Curtis Granderson for a story that should be posted this afternoon on, as the Yankees outfielder prepares to head to New Zealand as a Major League Baseball ambassador, his fourth such trip in helping the game grow overseas. 

With Spring Training just a few weeks away, Granderson is also ready for baseball to begin in Tampa, Fla. He plans to head down shortly after the Feb. 6 Super Bowl and is excited for his second season with the Yankees after experiencing some mixed results in 2010.
“I look at the good and the bad,” Granderson said. “As a team, we played well, and for myself individually there are a couple of things that I want to do better. There are things that you take with it that you’re happy with, so it’s kind of a mix. Of course the team is the most important, and I would have loved to continue playing. I’m excited for the 2011 season.”
Granderson’s season seemed to turn around in August, when he and hitting coach Kevin Long dissected his swing in the batting cages at Rangers Ballpark and cut out some unnecessary parts. Though Granderson won’t get a chance to see Long before Spring Training begins, he plans to work a lot in February and March to keep it moving in the right direction. 
“At the end of it, we just simplified everything,” Granderson said. “The changes actually weren’t that drastic; we just cut out things. The good thing about it is hopefully when I begin this offseason I’m able to easily pick back up what we’d been doing once I get down to Florida.”
While many would have liked to see the Yankees make a few more winter splashes, especially on the starting pitching front, Granderson said that he thinks the team the Yankees are bringing into camp looks “great” on paper.
“You see the free agents that were available this offseason, and of course all 30 teams would have wanted a lot of those guys,” Granderson said. “And of course you can’t get everybody. We had a great team last year, and there’s still a couple of question marks, like if Andy Pettitte is going to come back. But with the core that we have right now, I’m very happy and positive and excited about what we’ve got.” 
The Red Sox, most would agree, were one of the big winter winners. Granderson sees the movement in the American League East as a challenge, but one the Yankees can handle.
“The big thing for [Boston] is that they brought big pieces over,” Granderson said. “Who wouldn’t want Carl Crawford or Adrian Gonzalez? At the same time, it’ll be a little adjustment period for them as well and I think a couple of pieces will have to move. They’re going to be just as excited. 
“In our division, you saw teams like Baltimore make great moves. I think they’re probably one of the most underrated teams this offseason. It’ll be interesting to see what they do. Tampa Bay got a lot of talk with the guys that aren’t coming back, but again, it’s a completely different team than last year. Those question marks are always a threat.”

Yankees won’t have set lineup

Good stuff from Pete Caldera today in the Bergen Record, who caught up with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long via telephone:

Long said the Yankees will not have a set lineup going into Spring Training, instead using the exhibition season to determine what their best fits might be. 
That means the Yankees should be open to thinking about Brett Gardner as the everyday leadoff hitter, moving Robinson Cano into the three slot, dropping Derek Jeter in the order and most of the other topics that have been thrown around during the Hot Stove season. 
“I think we need to [experiment]. It’s important we throw all the options out there,” Long said. “I wouldn’t say we have a set lineup going into camp. We’ll toy with it.”
Long is meeting with Nick Swisher this week and has also been setting up sessions to work with Jeter in Tampa. He has already worked with Alex Rodriguez and says that he seems to be “on a mission” like he was before his 2007 MVP season. Curtis Granderson could also brush up with Long this month. 

A walk-off win, but no pie? Well, not so fast…

At the moment Colin Curtis slugged a three-run home run over the right-center field wall, ending Wednesday’s 6-3 Yankees win over the Pirates, A.J. Burnett was long gone – sometimes the starting pitchers hang out to watch each other work, but maybe there are other ways to occupy a cool but enjoyable afternoon in the Tampa area (we wouldn’t know!).

Anyway, that meant that when Curtis and his No. 98 jersey crossed home plate, there was no madman racing out of the dugout with a whipped cream-laden towel to hit the outfielder with. That sort of thing seems best reserved for the regular season anyway, if you’re going to do it all.

But the Yankees haven’t forgotten how many times Burnett whacked them in the kisser with something sweet last season, in one of the more hilarious quirks of the ’09 Yankees. So when Burnett won the Yankees’ Indy Car racing video game tournament on Tuesday, Kevin Long got revenge on behalf of the whole team.

Hard to believe no players spilled the goods today! Here’s Joe Girardi:

“It just happened the spur of the moment. I saw this shorter coach running to get a towel and some whipped cream at the bar in there. The next thing I know, there’s 50 guys, and he kind of got his way through. That was enjoyable for me to watch, and probably about 15 other guys too.”

A very special first pitch

The Yankees had Day 2 of HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere and Excel) on Tuesday, heading to Greenwich Village to meet with Tom Ellenson – a sixth-grader with cerebral palsy who has been named the ‘Most Valuable Person’ of his league champion A’s team.

Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Joba Chamberlain and Kevin Long all headed to J.J. Walker Field to conduct a rally and clinic. Tom may not be able to take the field during games, but he has been as much a part of the team as anyone. Introducing the Yankees at the clinic, Tom recited his rallying cry: “We play as one, we win as one!”

As the A’s ‘MVP,’ Tom’s responsibilities include keeping score, programming the lineup into his computer for printouts, playing music that would inspire the team to victory and leading the roster onto the field for each game. The story was an inspiration for the Yankees.

“I’m a parent and I’ve got four kids, so my kids have been off to Little League,” Pettitte said. “Just to see him whenever the kids come around him, how excited he gets and how much these kids love him, he’s a part of the team. It’s just a great story. If your heart can’t be touched by something like this, you don’t have a heart.”

Before Tuesday’s game, the A’s handed the ball one by one down from the mound, where Tom delivered it to the Yankees waiting at home plate.

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