Curtis Granderson Lauds Yankees’ Pitching Upgrades, Believes American League East Race Will Be Tight

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Curtis Granderson Lauds Yankees' Pitching Upgrades, Believes American League East Race Will Be TightBOSTON — When Curtis Granderson first stepped into the batter's box against pitcher Michael Pineda last year, he didn't notice any fear.

"He came out, he came right at you," Granderson said Monday before the Hot Stove Cool Music roundtable. "I don't remember the exact results of what we did against him [New York won 4-3], but I knew he was in there, knew he was confident and wasn't intimidated by the Yankee lineup."

Although Pineda — who was traded from Seattle to New York earlier this month — is changing addresses, Granderson said he expects his new teammate's aggressiveness to hassle American League East foes all year long.

As a rookie in 2011, Pineda posted a 9-10 record with a 3.74 ERA en route to making the All-Star team. The 6-foot-7 right-hander, who tallied 173 strikeouts and 55 walks, is expected to join CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Hiroki Kuroda in the rotation.

With the surplus of pitchers, Yankees manager Joe Girardi will have to decide between Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and A.J. Burnett for the fifth spot. Granderson, of course, is comfortable with that problem.

"It seems like [pitching] was the big question as [last] season went on and the season ended," Granderson said. "I think the front office with the Yankees addressed those issues and now we're at a situation where we might have too many [pitchers], which is always a good thing to have. Definitely going to be some great competition."

The competition in the rotation will be an exciting race, like the one in the AL East. Despite the pitching upgrades, Granderson doesn't believe there's a significant divide between the Yankees and the rest of the division.

"I think it's going to be very similar this year, where no team is going to necessarily dominate in our division," Granderson said. "It's a matter of how many games we win outside the division that's going to be the big key."

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