We’re still awaiting MRI results from Tuesday to know the extent of Brett Gardner‘s latest setback and if he’ll return to his regular role in left field at all this season. However, Joe Girardi said yesterday that the Yankees might consider using him as a pinch runner and defensive sub in September even if he can’t hit.
“You could use him as a pinch runner in September, and maybe as a defensive replacement,” Girardi told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. “It just depends on whether he doesn’t get healthy and what we need.”
The move would have its merits. For one thing, when the rosters expand in September the Yankees usually call up a speedy outfielder to do exactly that – play defense and run. The last couple years it was Greg Golson. Before that it was Freddy Guzman. Why shouldn’t it be Gardner this year?
The Yankees need to make sure he won’t do further damage to himself out there though. He keeps re-aggravating the injury when he bats, but he initially injured his elbow making a play in the field. Gardner is an all-out type of outfielder so they’re going to have to be sure that the elbow can take a bump or two first. Nothing worse than a defensive replacement afraid to get after it.