Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson was kind enough to answer a few questions for MLBTradeRumors.com. He seems like a smart guy; I was impressed by the content and honesty of his answers. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Cubs uniform ten years from now.
When did you first realize that you might one day play in the Major Leagues?
Honestly the first time was when I got called up in 2004 after our final game in AA Erie. Up until that point, I thought about and hoped I would be able to, but never thought I would get a chance to do it so fast.
You grew up near Chicago. What would it be like for you to play for the Cubs or White Sox one day?
For me it would be a little rough to play for one of the Chicago teams, because I know so many people there. A lot of the people that I know there are also big fans of one or both of those teams, and would try to get a lot of information out of me. I’m not sure if I would want to play there, but towards the end of my career I could see it possibly. I know I will always have a house in Chicago, so you can never discount anything.
Do you have any lineup preference? Do you take a different approach leading off than if you are hitting in another spot?
Honestly my favorite spot to hit is the second spot, but I haven’t done that in almost two years. The second spot gives you a lot of freedom especially if your leadoff hitter gets on. The second hitter can move a runner over by bunting, hit and run, or getting a hit through the hole at 1 st base. In the leadoff spot my approach really only changes in the leadoff spot later in the game when our team really needs me to get on base. I have to try my best to get on base any way possible. That is really the only time, and when I lead the game off, I’m not trying to draw a walk, I’m not trying to see pitches, I’m trying to get a hit and get on base.
I’ve read that you’re trying a new batting stance. How is that going so far? Do you think you’ll stick with it?
The new stance is very simple. All we (Lloyd McClendon and I) did was try to eliminate a lot of wasted movement before I swing at the baseball. Hopefully this will make me quicker to the ball and allow for easy correction if something wrong starts happening over a period of time. It has worked out pretty well for the most part this spring, but it is only spring training. Pitchers aren’t at 100 percent yet, so when the season starts and we get a month into it, we will see how it is. I like it right now though.
Are there any players on the club who serve as mentors for you?
I’m not sure if there is one particular mentor for me on this team because a lot of people have been teaching me different things since I made my debut in 2004. Nate Robertson and Vance Wilson have taught me different things about the Players Union. Craig Monroe, Gary Sheffield, and Marcus Thames are teaching me different things about hitting situations. Andy Van Slyke has taught me a lot about baserunning and also playing the outfield. Kenny Rogers teaches me different things about how opposing pitchers might pitch me. So you can see that everyone has been taking a role in trying to develop and build me into a better player.