The Yankees offense took a major blow on Sunday, as star center fielder Curtis Granderson learned that he would miss up to 10 weeks with a broken arm. Fortunately for the Yankees, broken bones usually are not lingering injuries and Granderson should come back fully healthy sometime in May.
It probably won't kill the Yankees, as it's only going to affect them for the month of April. But Granderson, especially due to the lack of replacements, is arguable the most important player in the lineup (besides possibly Robinson Cano). Brett Gardner can and will most likely shift over to CF, which leaves the spot of LF open. The Yankees have four possible routes they can go for in filling out their lineup.
1. Move Gardner to CF, use veteran (or combination of veterans) in LF
The Yankees have veteran guys Juan Rivera, Jayson Nix and Matt Diaz in camp, all of whom had a good chance to make the team as reserves before the injury. Now there's a very good chance one of the three will be the opening day LF. My vote would be for Rivera, as he probably has the most pop out of the three. Also, Nix is mostly an infielder, and his bat is not quite good enough to call for a change in position.
2. Bring up a young gun
Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams and Tyler Austin are the organizations three most promising outfield prospects, but all three are probably a year or two away from consistent success at the big league level and it is unlikely they serve as a temporary solution. Possible though, is a guy like Melky Mesa, who can play CF, or Zoilo Almonte, who hit a home run on Saturday, to get a look at the big league level in April.
If this had happened a few weeks ago the Yankees may have sprung for Michael Bourn, knowing them. But now just about every big free agent is taken, and the Yankees don't have much to pick from. Vernon Wells' name has been thrown around, as has Alfonso Soriano. Grady Sizemore is still unsigned as well, he could be an interesting fit in CF for New York, trying to resurrect his once promising career.
4. Eduardo Nunez
Eduardo Nunez has played sparingly in the outfield since he's been in the big leagues but he definitely is a true infielder right now. The Yankees, including Yogi Berra, love Nunez's bat and I would expect to see him trying some OF throughout the spring. If the Yanks find him adequate to play defensively out there, they can make Nix the utility infield guy and stick Nunez out in LF until Granderson heals.