SAN DIEGO -- Curtis Granderson has often said that he does not consider himself a home run hitter, but for a Yankees lineup that has struggled to hit the long ball this season, his return should be a welcome addition.
Granderson was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, and manager Joe Girardi slotted the 32-year-old fifth in the Yankees' lineup against the Padres, playing left field.
"We've seen what he's done since he's been here," Girardi said. "This is a power threat who can steal bases and can do a lot of different things. We're excited to have him back; we've just got to keep him here."
Granderson hit a career-high 43 homers last season for New York but has missed most of this year due to injuries, both of which were caused by hit-by-pitches.
He returned from a fractured right wrist in May and played just eight games before going back on the disabled list with a fractured pinky finger on his right hand, having been hit in a May 24 game against the Rays.
Granderson said he feels fine now and won't allow the injuries to affect the way he plays.
"I've been hit before," Granderson said. "It's not the first time. It definitely won't be the last. I had some games down in the Minor League rehab when balls were inside. I got hit running the bases, you know?
"All those things, the ball's gonna hit me at some point, but I've just got to go out there and keep playing. Can't play scared, can't play timid, just go out there and leave it out there for nine innings."
The Yankees entered play on Friday with an American League-low .368 slugging percentage and just 91 team home runs, which ranks 14th among the 15 AL teams -- only the Royals (69) have hit fewer. Girardi said that Granderson's return will lengthen the Yankees' lineup.
"Obviously, when we get our DH back in the lineup Monday, it changes that as well," Girardi said. "We've got him hitting fifth tonight. I don't know exactly where he'll hit every night, but he's a big power threat."
Granderson, who hit one of those 91 homers during his eight games, said that he won't be tempted to add to that total to make up for the shortcomings of his teammates.
"I've never really gone and tried to, and I think with this team here, the ability to hit home runs is there but the ability to score runs is also there," Granderson said. "You don't have to try to do it just with the long ball.
"There's speed in this lineup, there's guys who can move the baseball to both sides of the field. Up and down, one through nine, anybody can go ahead and drive in runs, which is a good thing. It's just a matter of getting everyone hot, and hot at the right time."
Girardi said that he plans to keep Brett Gardner as the everyday center fielder, but Granderson would see time in center field on days that Gardner is out of the lineup.
Yanks monitoring Jeter, but captain says he's fine
SAN DIEGO -- Every step Derek Jeter takes is watched closely from the Yankees' dugout, so it is not surprising that he was pulled aside for check-ins on his physical condition during Friday's 7-2 loss to the Padres.
"As we've talked about, he's coming back from a leg injury and I'm not so sure it's 100 percent," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's trying to grind through it for us."
Jeter has been told not to run full speed on ground balls to protect his right quadriceps, which he strained last month, and Girardi has offered only lukewarm assessments of Jeter's physical condition this week.
"I'm all right," Jeter said. "Like I've told you, if I play, you don't hear anything about it. I played, so I'm good."
The captain went 1-for-4 on Friday, sliding uncomfortably into third base after running from first base on Robinson Cano's first-inning single.
"It didn't look too good," Jeter said. "I was going to stand up and I decided to slide. I tried to slow down and it didn't look too good. I thought it would probably be easier just to try to slide as opposed to break it down, so I was confused."
He also got his feet tangled on a seventh-inning defensive play, prompting Girardi to check on the 39-year-old. Girardi surely was not surprised by the response he received.
"I was just making sure he was OK," Girardi said. "He said, 'Yeah, I'm fine.'"
Girardi has strongly hinted that he plans to rest Jeter for one of the games against the Padres, but he has not announced whether it will be on Saturday or Sunday. Jeter is 3-for-15 (.200) with a homer since being activated from the disabled list.
Yanks give Nunez a shot at playing third base
SAN DIEGO -- The Yankees are giving Eduardo Nunez another audition at third base, and the review process began on Friday night against the Padres at Petco Park.
Nunez took ground balls at the hot corner on Wednesday in Los Angeles and was informed that he would start at third base against the Padres, though he didn't know which day.
"We're going to give him a shot there," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll evaluate every day what we think, but we're going to give him a shot."
Asked how he felt about the workouts going into Friday's game, Nunez said with a laugh, "I think it's not enough," quickly adding, "I've been in this situation before."
The Yankees are trying to find ways to get Nunez's bat in the lineup with Derek Jeter playing shortstop; Brent Lillibridge and Jayson Nix are their other options at third base.
After being signed as a shortstop, the Yankees attempted to shift Nunez into a utility man role but abandoned the experiment early last season after a rash of errors, saying at the time that Nunez would only play shortstop moving forward.
"He's still going to have to play short," Girardi said. "We're just hoping that the maturity and the couple years of doing it, playing well at shortstop this year will give him the confidence to do it. But part of it is based on need."
• Girardi said he thinks "it's possible" that Alex Rodriguez will join the team in Chicago on Monday for its series against the White Sox. Rodriguez played for Double-A Trenton on Friday and is scheduled to do so again Saturday.
"I think if we didn't [expect Rodriguez to play], I believe that we wouldn't have him go through the rehab," Girardi said. "We expect him to be a player. I can't tell you what's going to happen. Only Major League Baseball knows what's going to happen. So we have to prepare as if he's going to be a player for us."
• Friday marks the Yankees' first game at Petco Park. They played in San Diego during the 2002 regular season, going 2-1 at Qualcomm Stadium, and won twice here in the 1998 World Series.
• On this date in 1979, Yankees captain Thurman Munson died at age 32 in a plane crash while practicing takeoffs and landings in Canton, Ohio. His uniform No. 15 was immediately retired.