Brett Gardner got a second opinion on his injured elbow today and the doctor agreed with the previous diagnosis – elbow muscle strain, bone bruise and joint inflammation that have not fully healed, the Yankees said in a statement.
The Yankees also said that Gardner was given platelet-rich plasma and a cortisone shot and will rest the elbow a full 3-4 weeks with an elbow brace before beginning rehab.
Gardner has already had two setbacks and been out two full months so the Yankees will no doubt be very slow as he tries to rehab his elbow a third time. Six weeks seems on the optimistic end if he’s out a month before resuming baseball activities. It might be safer to assume that he’ll be out eight weeks though given that this injury has already lingered well past what they initially expected.
The Yankees have had Raul Ibanez as Gardner’s primary replacement for most of the last two months with Andruw Jones, Dewayne Wise, and Jayson Nix helping to carry the load as well. The only one who has been hitting has been Ibanez, but he’s been terrible defensively and is liable to cost the Yankees in a big situation. Wise is the best fielder, but potentially the worst bat of the group.
The Yankees have a few options they could call on from the minors, but nothing exciting. Chris Dickerson is probably the most obvious. The rest of the group probably don’t have the bats to be considered real upgrades over Wise.
The Yankees could turn to the trade market. It might be good for them to trade for an outfielder that is still under contract in 2013 that they could slide into right field next season if Nick Swisher leaves via free agency. That’s just me thinking out loud though.
So far Brian Cashman has denied looking toward the trade market for a replacement, but that was before we found out that mid-August is the earliest we could expect Gardner back.