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Gardner on Ellsbury signing: “I was surprised at first”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 04, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

photoBrett Gardner is coming off a pretty nice year, so it’s easy to understand his sense of surprise when the Yankees went out and signed a more expensive — and more established — version of himself to play center field this season.

“I was surprised at first,” Gardner said tonight at the Munson Awards Dinner. “I didn’t really see that coming. But, listen, he’s a great player. You put him on our team or any other team across baseball, and he makes them better. I look forward to playing beside him and really learning from him. I’ve got a feeling he knows a thing or two about some pitchers, especially in our division, and I’m looking forward to playing alongside him and pushing each other and getting the best out of each other.”

Gardner said that Joe Girardi reached out to him, making it clear that, despite rumors of trade possibility, the Yankees envisioned him playing a big role going forward.

“He called to check in and see how I was feeling mentally, how I was feeling, where I was at,” Gardner said. “To explain that it didn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t want me around, or didn’t see a spot for me. That was really it. I didn’t feel like I needed to reach out to anybody, and I didn’t expect anyone to reach out to me, necessarily. I’ve always been a big believer in controlling the things I can control, and this is something I didn’t have control over.”

Gardner said he did his best to ignore the talk of a possible trade. He had a healthy and normal offseason — last year’s oblique injury was mostly gone by the end of the season — and he prepared as if he would still be with the Yankees, still playing regularly.

“You hear about (trade rumors),” Gardner said. “It’s hard to ignore it. I don’t go digging for information on a daily basis, but when you talk to people, I try to tell my wife and parents and people like that not to bother me with it, but other people say, ‘I heard this’ or ‘I heard that.’ You can’t help but try to run from it, but it always follows you. You try not to let it bother you. It’s definitely something that’s beyond my control, especially in the offseason. Just prepare for this season mentally and physically and get ready to go. … I like the moves that we made, and I look forward to getting to know these guys and playing with them.”

Brett GardnerA few other topics of discussion with Gardner tonight…

On the Alex Rodriguez decision
“I don’t want to say shocked. I didn’t really know what to expect. It could have gone 211 or zero or anywhere in between, and we ended up somewhere in between. I guess the only thing I really say, I wish it had been handled differently by everybody involved. I think it was kind of bad for everybody: the player, the team, baseball in general, fans, everybody. Hopefully we can put that past us and look forward to a good season.”

On the possibility of A-Rod in spring training
“Well, my locker is always right beside his. My locker is usually between him and Robbie Cano, so maybe I’ll have a whole row to myself. We’ll see. I don’t know what to expect with that. I haven’t even thought about that. I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. … I’m guessing it will be exactly like what it was when his locker was right beside mine in Chicago last summer. It’s not like I’m coming over from a different team. I’ve been here. I’ve seen just about all you can see. I doubt it will be much different than anything we’ve already seen.”

On the expectations for Derek Jeter
“I expect him to be back to himself. Last year, everything he went through was really, really tough for him. I think (I) played in the same number of games two years ago as he played in last year, 15-20 games, something like that. That’s no fun. Trying to get back on the field, falling back down, and getting back up, and it’s tough. Hopefully he’s back to 100 percent, can be our starting shortstop, and can hit .320, .330 like he always does.”

On receiving the Munson Award
“It means a lot. I didn’t grow up a Yankees fan when I was little, but I grew up as a Yankee. I got drafted by the Yankees, so I’ve never been anywhere else. Early on, you know who Derek Jeter is, and you know A-Rod and those guys are, but you learn real quick who Thurman Munson is and how much respect everybody within the organization had for him, not only the way he played the game but the way he treated people and the things that he did away from the field. It’s a very good honor, and I’m very humbled by it.”

Cell phone photo, and Associated Press photo

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53 Responses to “Gardner on Ellsbury signing: “I was surprised at first””

  1. Against All Odds February 4th, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    hat said, the game shouldn’t really diminish his status either. He’s an all time great. Getting thrashed by a superior team doesn’t change that.

    ——————-

    It hurts him to some degree though. Not saying he goes from top 5 all time to top 30 but that was a beating he took on Sunday.

  2. chicken_stanley February 4th, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I know Gardner is a polarizing figure around here and I’m not trying to push anyone’s buttons but I’ve really enjoyed watching him progress as a player. He still has parts of his game that need to be addressed but I’m looking forward to another good season from him.

  3. chicken_stanley February 4th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    from last thread:

    My objective prediction for the Yankee is more like 85 +/- 10

    ———————-

    Pete2 – I’m both proud and ashamed to admit that I’ve never predicted anything objectively when it comes to the Yankees (see exhibit A – my 95 win guess in Trisha’s chart) :)

  4. blake February 4th, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Congrats Gardy

  5. blake February 4th, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    @MLBNetworkRadio: Tracy McGrady said he picked up a slider “in like 10 minutes” and has been working with Roger Clemens.

  6. MTU February 4th, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Blake-

    Who is McGrady ?

  7. chicken_stanley February 4th, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Tracy McGrady said he picked up a slider “in like 10 minutes” and has been working with Roger Clemens.

    —————————-

    Report I heard – he’s topping out at 84-86 and Clemens says “he’s not there yet”.

    Sounds a lot like Jordan’s foray into baseball… Still, it would be sort of a cool story to see someone like McGrady succeed

  8. chicken_stanley February 4th, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Mike – a retired NBA player

  9. Hanks Bar February 4th, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    Trisha

    Wooooo Hoooooo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    95 WINS THIS YEAR ! ! ! ! !

    GET THE HOUSE A ROUND !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. MTU February 4th, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Thanks Glenn.

  11. RadioKev February 4th, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks for that, Chad. It would be interesting if Gardner and Ellsbury could feed off of each other. I hadn’t really considered it, and I don’t really expect it, but it would be great to see Gardner get a little more aggressive on the base paths as a result, or Ellsbury improve as a defender (or something).

  12. tomingeorgia February 4th, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Dis anybody see Freddy Freeman’s deal with the Braves? 8 years, $135 MILLION.

  13. chicken_stanley February 4th, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    anybody see Freddy Freeman’s deal with the Braves? 8 years, $135 MILLION.

    ———————

    Tom – I heard on MLB radio that he had signed an extension but didn’t hear the details… Good move by the Braves, IMO (not that my opinion means squat :) )

    I wonder what Chris Davis’ next deal is gonna look like… If he puts up another year comparable to ’13, what will his market value be?

  14. Your Name Here February 4th, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I listened to McGrady interview on my way home. If there is one interesting interview to listen to…. This isn’t it. Gees…. was it boring and forced.

  15. tomingeorgia February 4th, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    chicken,
    These deals are way beyond my comprehension. Who will be the first Billion Dollar player? I just think it’s a bubble that can’t be sustained, but, like you, what do I know?

  16. j9d February 4th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    This is going to be a really good year to watch the Yankees. The same people who criticize Gardner are the ones who call out the Yankees for not developing home grown prospects. It is all noise. Ignore it and enjoy the season.

  17. blake February 4th, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    MTU says:
    February 4, 2014 at 8:36 pm
    Blake-

    Who is McGrady ?

    He played in the NBA….was really good for awhile. I think he’s gonna find out quickly that you can’t just step in and play baseball

  18. MTU February 4th, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks Blake.

  19. chicken_stanley February 4th, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Tom – I remember thinking when Mattingly signed a contract for 3 mil/year – “the bubble is about to burst!” many years and many millions of dollars later, the bubble hasn’t burst… But there’s got to be a stopping point, right?

  20. MTU February 4th, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Proximo Hilo ——–>

  21. tomingeorgia February 4th, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    chicken,
    That was when box seats cost 20 bucks, and the bleachers were 50 cents. Will the bleachers cost a hundred and the upper stands 350? Or will our game become an arena sport? There has to be a limit, or people won’t pay, will they?

  22. pete2 February 4th, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    I am hoping Ellsbury can help Gardner be a better base stealer. Gardner seems so hesitant in recent years when he is at 1B, while Ellsbury seems to know when to go. I would like to see the Yankees extend him since that’s a pretty good defensive OF with him in LF and Ellsbury in CF, and together they could steal 100 SB.

    I guess a lot of Gardners future with the Yankees depends on how the Yankees OF prospects do this year.

  23. NYY fan in NH February 4th, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    McGrady was probably a top 5 player back in his prime before injuries. He’s got to be like 40 by now lol. If you were to tell me Kevin Durant threw 95 then I’d be impressed

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