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Curtis Granderson returns to the lineup of surprisingly first-place New York Yankees

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

Somehow, the New York Yankees managed to withstand injury upon injury and they're sitting in first place in the AL East right now. When Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira went down with spring injuries, when Derek Jeter suffered two setbacks, the narrative was everywhere (including here): The Yankees are old, injured and have a tough road ahead.

As Curtis Granderson returns to the Yankees lineup on Tuesday, the first of their stars to come back, the story changes a little bit. Now it becomes, can the Yankees keep it up?

Granderson, who fractured his forearm in late February, will hit cleanup and play left field as the Yankees face the Seattle Mariners and Felix Hernandez in the Bronx. With 43 home runs last season, Granderson is a boost the Yankees will welcome, despite what they've been able to accomplish without him.

Frankly, the Yankees have emerged from injury hell in the best possible scenario — they're tied with the Texas Rangers for the second-best record in baseball. Attribute it to the Vernon Wells acquisition, their pitching or just that good Yankee fortune.

Over at NBC Sports, Joe Posnanski has come to grips with the Yankees being better-than-expected. Under the headline,"Yankees School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," he writes:

What if that team was playing in Kansas City. Or Seattle. Or Milwaukee. Take away Cano, and you can imagine it very easily. How many games would that team win? More to the point, how many would they lose? Ninety-five? A hundred? In New York, that lineup — and a pitching staff with 41-year-old Andy Pettitte and 38-year-old Hiroki Kuroda trying to get the game to 43-year-old Mariano Rivera — is in first place with the best record in the American League ...

But the truth is, I’m losing faith in the science-based baseball world. I know that sooner or later, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter will return. And, I must admit, that’s magic even I have no choice but to believe in.

Somewhere Hawk Harrelson is reading this and proudly proclaiming the Yankees' real secret: a big ol' dose of TWTW.

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