Brett Gardner had not seen live pitching since April 19th. He has been sidelined with a strained right elbow since
then, and has been working on recovery. Last night, Gardner made a rehab start for the Charleston River Dogs and finally got some live game action in. He went 1 for 3 with a steal and a run scored for the River Dogs. Gardner played college ball at the College of Charleston so he is quite familiar with the city and the River Dogs’ home field, Riley Park.
Andrew Miller of the Post and Courier says Gardner was supposed to play a few games in Tampa after finishing his rehab, then return to the Yankees. However, rain forced a change in his rehab start locations. And Gardner was perfectly happy about it.
“It’s not the way we planned it, but this was a great consolation prize for me,” Gardner said. “This made the most sense to everyone. They didn’t have to twist my arm at all to get me back here.”
Brett Gardner has played five seasons, including this year, for the Yankees. He has become the team’s every day left fielder and a major piece of their defense. Gardner got nine games in before the injury and was hitting .321/.424/.393. Last season, Gardner stole 49 bases for the Yankees, and he has stolen 137 in his career.
Gardner is expected to return to the Yankees lineup early next week. Raul Ibanez, who the Yankees expected to use in more of a designated hitter and pinch hitter role this season, has been filling in for Gardner. He has hit .255/.308/.497 this season. Dewayne Wise has also played 21 games in left this year for the Yankees.
The Yankees hope Garnder’s return can help power them past the tightly-bunched American League East. All five teams in the division are within four games of first place. The Yankees are currently a half game back of the Rays with the Orioles right behind them. Gardner’s speed, glove, and bat should be a big boost for the Yankees.
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