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Granderson to play more against lefties

Granderson to play more against lefties

NEW YORK -- After six games in seven days, Curtis Granderson had a start off against Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte on Wednesday. That doesn't mean the Tigers will be taking an entirely right-handed approach with him.

Manager Jim Leyland talked in Spring Training about giving Granderson more games against lefty starters, and that's still part of his plans. With Granderson back for barely a week, and with his legs still bothering him at times late in games, Leyland played it cautious on Wednesday.

"He's going to start playing against those guys, too," Leyland said Wednesday. "I think it's not so much [about] not playing him, but getting guys in [who need at-bats]."

In Wednesday's case, it was Brandon Inge, who's backing up at two different positions. Leyland set up his plans to get Inge back-to-back starts; he'll catch on Thursday to give Ivan Rodriguez a day's rest.

"It's a good time to get him an extra four at-bats," Leyland said.

For now, he can get those. Eventually, look for Granderson to play a little more with a southpaw on the mound, depending on the matchups. Considering Granderson is 0-for-7 in his career against Pettitte, Wednesday wasn't a good one for him.

Granderson actually had a decent amount of his at-bats against left-handed pitching during his Minor League rehab stint. He has said in the past that left-handed pitching helps him with his timing at the plate, and he still believes that, because he has to watch the ball into the plate instead of pulling off.

He has been patient, but the rewards against lefties haven't been there yet in his career. He batted .160 (19-for-119) against southpaws last year with 40 strikeouts in 133 plate appearances, compared to .337 off righties. He hit .218 off lefties two years ago. However, he had his share of at-bats against lefties in Spring Training, where his approach yielded some quality at-bats.

"I think he'll be fine," Leyland said. "I think he'll be an everyday player. But if you play him every day against lefties, his numbers won't be as good."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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