Brett Gardner knows he’s fast, and he knows the bunt is a good way to use that speed. He regularly lays down bunts during pregame work, but this spring he’s bunted in a game maybe three or four times, including a failed attempt last night against the Orioles.
“A lot of times, guys want to feel like their swing is set before they start doing other things,” Joe Girardi said. “That’s why you don’t see us hit-and-run a lot. I don’t give at-bats away. You give guys 3-0 swings that you wouldn’t necessarily do during the regular season. You want them to get their at-bats in and get their swings in and feel good about that before they start doing something different.”
Gardner told me once that he used to bunt a lot in the lower levels of the minor leagues, but as he climbed through the system, he felt the need to make sure his swing was getting better. He didn’t like burning an at-bat on a bunt, and he gradually did it less and less in the upper levels.
Now he’s making an effort to get better at it, and although the bunt will never be Gardner’s primary offensive weapon, we’ve seen him show bunt in two of his past three starts.
“I still have to find chances to bunt,” he said. “I have plenty of opportunities to do it.”
Associated Press photo