The context was a discussion about Brett Gardner. Because of drug testing, Girardi said, a player like Gardner will become more valuable.
“Just to be flat-out straightforward, you’re probably going to see some more speed in the game,” the manager said. “You’re not going to have as many home runs. You’re going to have to find ways to create runs.”
Gardner had an interesting first inning. He showed bunt, which drew the infield in a step or two. Then he slapped a ball up the middle. Minnesota second baseman Alexi Casilia knocked the ball down but had no play.
Gardner then stole second and scored on a single. The threat of speed and then actual speed helped the Yankees score a run.
I asked Jorge Posada how much a player like Gardner irritates a catcher. “Oh, we hate it,” he said. “It changes everything about the defense.”
Of course none of this much matters unless Gardner can get on base as a decent clip. But through three games in spring training, he’s giving the Yankees something to think about.