Brett Gardner has only played nine games this season. His injury was a big reason why the New York Yankees went out and acquired Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners. The team thought that Gardner would be out for the entire season with his elbow issues, but New York activated him today. According to Jack Moore of CBS Sports
, Brett Gardner will be available in tonight's game and for the remainder of the season. The Yankees intend to use him off the bench and as a defensive replacement. Gardner has long been New York's best defensive outfielder.
Gardner was hitting .321/.424/.393 in nine games this season. The sample size was far too small to assume he could have maintained that success. However, the Yankees have missed his bat and his defense. In his career, Gardner is a .265/.355/.368 hitter. He is still under team control until 2015 and has two years of arbitration-eligibility remaining. His youth, speed, and defense will be important to New York of he can remain healthy.
Gardner strained his elbow early in the year, then he suffered a setback during rehab. The 29-year old had to undergo surgery that was thought to be season-ending, but he now returns with about a week and a half to play.
New York enters play today with a 1.5 game lead over the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles split a doubleheader yesterday while New York won their game which allowed the Yankees to pick up a half game on Baltimore. In a season full of injuries, Brett Gardner's return is a positive sign and should boost the Yankees as they close in on the play-offs.