Brett Gardner’s MRI revealed a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique. He’s going to rejoin the Yankees on Sunday, but he won’t be an available player right away. Joe Girardi said there’s a chance Gardner could be a pinch runner before he’s an available hitter, but even that sort of involvement might take a while.
“Ribcages don’t heal very quickly,” Girardi said. “But I think sometimes it depends on the individual, too. It’s not like it’s just a few days. Is it possible it could be the rest of the year? Yeah.”
That said, Girardi said he believes Gardner is a realistic candidate for the postseason in some capacity.
For now, it’s obvious that Curtis Granderson will be Gardner’s replacement in center field, and for tonight Granderson is filling the hole in the leadoff spot as well. Girardi said the leadoff hitter could change game-to-game, depending on matchups and such, but this likely won’t be the last time we see Granderson at the top of the order.
“You still go up there and try to be aggressive,” Granderson said. “That’s kind of been my approach. Kevin Long likes that idea. I’m my best when I’m ready to attack. In years past, including this year, whenever I seem to be most aggressive, that’s when I end up getting more walks. You’re ready to hit and when you are ready, you’re taking those pitches early in the count that aren’t ones that you can handle. Usually I end up getting more pitches that way versus trying to see more pitches.”
There are obviously far worse second-string center field options than Granderson, but Gardner has played well this season, and losing him is another significant blow to a team that’s already had more than its fair share of injuries.
“Gardy has been playing well for us all season long,” Granderson said. “And he’s done some amazing things both offensively and defensively. To have him go down the way he is, and to not be sure exactly when he might come back, that’s definitely a tough thing to handle. At the same time, we’ve got to continue to move on. I know that’s exactly how he’d want it, and he’s going to do everything he can to get back as soon as possible.”
• This is a third straight DH day for Alex Rodriguez, but Girardi said this one has more to do with tomorrow’s day game than Rodriguez’s hamstring. “My hope is tomorrow (he’ll play third),” Girardi said. “I really believe I could have played him today. I didn’t even ask him. But my plan is to play him there tomorrow, but I wouldn’t have done both anyway, so I figured let’s do it this way.”
• Girardi said he could play “either one” — Brendan Ryan or Eduardo Nunez — at shortstop when Rodriguez returns to third base.
• Austin Romine said he passed yesterday’s ImPACT test with “flying colors.” He got on the bike today. He also played catch and hit in the cage. Could be catching bullpens tomorrow. Seems very optimistic. Even so, Girardi said it’s still possible Romine won’t be available until the Toronto series next week. It’s kind of a day-to-day situation. No clear timetable seems to be in place.
• This was the most optimistic Girardi has sounded when asked about Boone Logan. Said he’s hopeful Logan will be ready next week. “He said he felt better today,” Girardi said. “I don’t know if he’s going to go out and play catch due to the weather right now, but he said he felt better today, and I’m hoping that he turned the corner a little bit here.”
• Speaking of the bullpen, Girardi once again said it’s likely Mariano Rivera is not available. Dave Robertson might not be available either, leaving the closer role up for grabs. “It would probably be by committee,” Girardi said.
• Ivan Nova is scheduled to start Sunday’s game. He’s on track, and Phil Hughes is currently listed as a starter. He wouldn’t have been available tonight anyway, but it certainly suggests Hughes is going to start a game next week.
• Girardi on Mariano Rivera getting the win and not the save last night: “I’d like to see him get a save, but when I woke up this morning, it didn’t change my life.”
• Last time the Yankees played the Red Sox, the series got ugly at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees rebounded in Baltimore — and in the last game at home — but obviously the Yankees had some trouble beating this Red Sox team a week ago. “I think having the experience allowed our guys to come back,” Girardi said. “People ask me every day how we’re going to respond from today, yesterday. We went out and scored eight runs, we went out and scored nine runs, and that’s how we responded. We won the game 4-3 the last game.”
Associated Press photos