04/06/08 8:43 PM ET
Granderson on the mend
X-rays show center fielder's broken hand healing
By Scott McNeish / MLB.com
Center fielder and leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson received positive results Sunday night from an X-ray on his broken right hand. The exam showed sufficient healing, and Granderson can begin baseball activities on Monday.
"It looks like a hand again," Granderson said.
The team could not give a timetable for his return to the lineup. Granderson has said he won't think about it until he can swing and miss without pain.
Granderson has been on the 15-day disabled list since being hit by a high-and-tight fastball from Phillies pitcher Travis Blackley in a Spring Training game March 22.
The Tigers offense has looked out of sync, and the absence of Granderson, who finished 10th in last year's American League Most Valuable Player voting, could be a major reason. In his third season, Granderson became the second Major League player to post at least 30 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a season, a feat Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins achieved soon after.
"He ignites your offense," manager Jim Leyland said of Granderson. "I think Cleveland misses having [Victor] Martinez in there. I think the Mets will miss having Pedro Martinez in there. And the Tigers miss having Curtis Granderson in there."
However, Leyland would not say the Tigers need him in order to restore offensive rhythm.
"When you start leaning toward that stuff, you're leaning toward the excuse mode, and we don't do that here," Leyland said. "Certainly there's enough professional hitters, and there's enough ammunition here.
"If we can't win a game without Curtis, then we're not as good as I thought we were."
Granderson acknowledged the job done by his replacements in center field. Rookie Clete Thomas leads the team with a .500 batting average, and Brandon Inge, arguably the team's MVP so far, has hit .375, two home runs and has a team-high four RBIs while also filling in at third base for Miguel Cabrera.
But Granderson's return could shake up the roster. It's perceived Thomas will be optioned to Triple-A Toledo, and Inge, with Cabrera back healthy, will likely return to his role of bench utility man and backup catcher.
"We'll just have to see what happens with all that," Leyland said.
Scott McNeish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.