Last time the Yankees played a game, it was that October wild card showdown at Yankee Stadium. In the top of the second, Brett Gardner was playing center field when he went toward the gap in right-center to chase down an Evan Gattis fly ball. He made a leaping catch, slamming both his throwing hand and his glove hand into the wall.
Within a month, Gardner complained to the Yankees about soreness in his wrist, and tests revealed a bone bruise. That bruise has gotten better, but Gardner was told not to hit all offseason, and so he’ll get off to a slow start this spring. He’s not taking batting practice today. He only took dry swings over the winter, and he’s just now getting started with tee and toss.
“The season’s not upon us tomorrow,” Brian Cashman said. “We’ll start him out of the gate slow. (Told him), ‘Don’t swing all winter, and we’ll get you going.’ Just more of a safe route.”
Cashman couldn’t remember which wrist was injured — he initially said right wrist, then said he wasn’t sure, and it seems the injury is to the left wrist — but the important thing seems to be that it’s not the same wrist that was hurt last season. The fact Cashman wasn’t sure which wrist, he said, spoke to his level of concern.
He’s not worried about Gardner being ready for Opening Day. In fact, Cashman said it’s possible Gardner will be ready to play in games by the time the exhibition season starts in a week. For now, the Yankees are just taking it slow.
Is it strange that a bone bruise would linger this long?
“No,” Cashman said. “A lot of times the time frame for bone bruises on diagnostic testing to completely dissipate, you could be waiting a year. I know he feels good, but we’re just going to take it slow because we can.”
• After discussing options yesterday, the Yankees have decided to test Rob Refsnyder at third base this spring. They’ll also go ahead with plans to try Starlin Castro at third. “We’re going to take a look at it,” Cashman said. “We’re going to take a look at all that, in conjunction with testing the temperature of the players at the same time to see what their feelings are toward it as well.”
• Today is the first day of infield practice, and individual positions aren’t assigned on the schedule. Refsnyder will be taking ground balls in a group with Castro and Didi Gregorius, but not in a group with Chase Headley.
• Alex Rodriguez is not listed for any of the team’s fielding drills today. But on his way through the clubhouse today, he and Chasen Shreve exchanged a high five — well, more like a low five — that was pretty emphatic, like they were old friends. Probably says something about the way Rodriguez has integrated himself into the clubhouse, and also about the way Shreve is viewed as a legitimate part of the team and not necessarily a guy fighting for a spot.
• Here’s Cashman on Aroldis Chapman being once again absent from Yankees camp: “As I alluded to before, there was another date that (he) asked in advance, and that was today. An excused absence for personal reasons that, shortly after we acquired him they gave us some information about, there’s something he needs to attend to on this particular date. No problem.”
• After having shoulder surgery on August 7, Mason Williams has only recently started playing catch again, and today will be his first time hitting on the field (he’s been doing some hitting inside). A little more than six months have passed since the surgery, and Williams said he was told to expect an 8-10 month recovery. He does not expect to be ready to open the season, but he does feel good and sounds relatively encouraged.
• Speaking of injuries, Slade Heathcott was wearing an unusual shin guard that looked like some sort of ankle brace. I’d never seen one before. Asked about it, Heathcott laughed and explained it’s just shin guard, nothing medical. “I don’t get injured any more,” he said.
• Although he’s supposed to report today, Ronald Torreyes still has an empty locker and he’s not listed for any infield drills.
• Already today, Masahiro Tanaka has thrown a side. “So far so good,” Cashman said. “No issues, no complaints.” Tanaka threw to Gary Sanchez. He’s still not facing hitters.
• Hideki Matsui is here.
Ivan Nova (to Austin Romine)
Bryan Mitchell (to Carlos Corporan)
Diego Moreno (to Eddy Rodriguez)
Live batting practice at minor league complex
Catchers, when they aren’t behind the plate, will serve as hitters
Tyler Olson (to Gary Sanchez)
Nick Rumbelow (to Francisco Diaz)
James Kaprielian (to Santiago Nessy)
Johnny Barbato (to Sebastian Valle)
Vicente Campos (to Kyle Higashioka)
Jacob Lindgren (to Brian McCann)
Branden Pinder (to Brian McCann)
Nick Goody (to Austin Romine)
Tyler Webb (to Carlos Corporan)
Chad Green (to Eddy Rodriguez)
No position listed for individual players
Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Jorge Mateo, Chris Parmelee, Rob Refsnyder, Deibinson Romero
Dustin Ackley, Jonathan Diaz, Chase Headley, Donovan Solano, Mark Teixeira, Tyler Wade
Group 1: Dustin Ackley, Starlin Castro, Didi Gregorius, Jorge Mateo
Group 2: Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez, Rob Refsnyder, Mark Teixeira
Group 3: Jonathan Diaz, Chris Parmelee, Deibinson Romero, Donovan Solano
Group 4: Lane Adams, Carlos Beltran, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge
Group 5: Jacoby Ellsbury, Slade Heathcott, Cesar Puello
Group 6: Ben Gamel, Dustin Fowler, Mason Williams, Tyler Wade
Group 7: Francisco Diaz, Kyle Higashioka, Santiago Nessy, Gary Sanchez, Sebastian Valle
Group 8: Carlos Corporan, Brian McCann, Austin Romine, Eddy Rodriguez
Associated Press photos