It didn't get mentioned much with all the hoopla surrounding the exciting finish to the regular season, but Brett Gardner is back to resuming full baseball activities. He got an at-bat in Monday night's game as an 8th-inning pinch hitter, and 2 more last night as late-game replacement, even getting a base knock and coming around to score a run.
Gardner hadn't had an official at-bat prior to Monday since April 17th, so in a small sample size of 3ABs it's hard to say he's "back" and much more likely that he's still very rusty when it comes to hitting against Major League pitching. But Gardner would represent an upgrade over the potential bench OF options that Joe has to mull over in the next few days (Jones, The D); he's a better outfielder and baserunner than both of them and when he's right he brings good stuff to the table at the bottom of the order as a grinder and speed/sacrifice option.
Despite all my worrying, we haven't heard any more horror stories about Gardner's elbow starting to bother him since the Yankees started working him back in. It appears as if he's out of the woods now, and if he has come away from these first couple of ABs back without any pain in the elbow, he could very well find himself on the postseason 25-man as the 4th OF.
Game 149: Yankees at Rays
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