Brett Gardner is active again. Not so long ago, I didn’t expect to write that sentence until next spring, the Yankees believe he can play a limited role down the stretch. They’ve seen Eduardo Nunez thrown out at second base, they’ve seen Melky Mesa miss third base entirely, and now the Yankees have an experience base runner who can come off the bench and make something happen.
“I’m excited,” Gardner said. “It’s something I’ve been ready for for a little while. I kind of understand what my role is. I might not play for three, four, five days. As the game goes along, I’ll try to get a feel for what kind of situation might pop up and I’ll be ready to go.”
The Yankees haven’t exactly ruled out the idea of Gardner being more than a pinch runner and defensive replacement, but it seems a longshot that he could do anything more this year. He was originally expected to take on-the-field batting practice tomorrow, but with a day game, it’s unlikely the Yankees will have full BP so Gardner will probably just hit in the cage again and get on the field in Toronto. There’s an extremely outside chance that he could be a regular player at the very end of the season, but the Yankees don’t seem to be expecting it.
“You know, I’m not really sure,” Girardi said. “He’s continuing to progress in the right direction so I’m not sure what it really means. It’s something we’ll have to talk about. … I don’t know how realistic it is that he could do more. He’s got to go through some BP, and he thing is, he’s probably not going to have any game at-bats. That kind of makes it tough. It’s something we’ll continue to evaluate as we go on.”
Gardner said he hasn’t thought about doing anything other than running and playing defense. He said he’s “absolutely” comfortable diving and making plays in the field, and Girardi said there would be no hesitation to use him in the outfield.
“With the guys we have here and the way guys have been playing, my goal was just to try and get healthy,” Gardner said. “I mean, that’s the main thing. Forget trying to play everyday or anything like that. Any kind of role they need to use me in late in the game — pinch-run, play defense or maybe get a guy over or something like that — I’d be ready for it.”
• Mark Teixeira went through batting practice and fielding drills, but he didn’t run. This was a scheduled day of no running, and Girardi said Teixeira will run again tomorrow. Still no word on when he’ll get in an intrasquad game much less when he’ll actually rejoin the big league team.
• David Aardsma is an active big leaguer for the first time in two years, but he won’t be used in key spots. “We’re going to have to pick a spot maybe to get him in there,” Girardi said. “Like you say, he hasn’t really pitched in the big leagues in a long time. We’ll have to be careful where we use him. It won’t probably in a close game, you wouldn’t think, to start out. We’ll have to see how he does.”
• As expected, Steve Pearce and Justin Thomas were designated for assignment to make room for Aardsma and Gardner.
• The Yankees knew they were going to DFA Justin Thomas when they made these moves, but they wanted to wait until Clay Rapada and Boone Logan had at least a day of rest before losing their extra lefty. Rapada and Logan didn’t pitch yesterday — Thomas did — and so the move came today.
• Interesting that Pearce was the other move. The Yankees haven’t gotten a ton out of Pearce or Casey McGehee, and for a while it was clear that Pearce was higher in the pecking order. That seemed to flip last week and now Pearce is gone.
• Robinson Cano is getting a DH day just to give him a bit of a break. “He’s played a lot,” Girardi said. “Just give him a day off his legs a little bit and refresh him a little bit. I don’t know how much you can refresh a guy this time of year, though.”
• Much like Cano, Alex Rodriguez hasn’t done much lately, but Girardi said he doesn’t believe there’s anything physically wrong. “He’s been out in front of some balls,” Girardi said. “He’s kind of left the zone a little bit. He hit a ball hard last night. It’s such a fine line mechanically to be sound and not be a little bit out front, or a little bit late, or chase a ball a little bit off. It’s just kind of what the guys go through, and at any point they get hot and start driving the ball again.”
Associated Press photos