This idea has been brought up in the past, but it sounds more likely that the Yankees could use Brett Gardner in September, when rosters expand, as a defensive outfielder and pinch runner.
“If there’s a way he can help us, we’ll definitely use him, especially in the month of September when you can expand rosters,” Girardi told Brian Heyman of the Journal News. “If there’s certain things that he can’t do and it’s during the month of August, then you’re kind of limited and you limit your roster. But with an expanded roster, if he can help us, we’ll definitely use him, if it doesn’t jeopardize him getting back next year.”
This is nothing unusual for the Yankees. Over the past couple of years they have typically called up somebody from the minors to pinch run and play defense in the month of September. Most recently it was Greg Golson and it was Freddy Guzman before that.
The Yankees, and Gardner, have to make sure that he isn’t doing anything that will jeopardize his return next year, but the Yankees have sorely missed his speed on the bases. Having him return, even in a limited role, could be a big boost.
It is doubtful he would make the playoff roster though because without his bat it would limit the Yankees on a typical 25-man roster.