New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner's last two big-league at-bats are separated by 5 1/2 months.
Gardner, who'd been restricted to being a defensive replacement and pinch running since returning last week from a strained right elbow he suffered on April 17, recorded his 29th AB of 2012 pinch hitting for Ichiro Suzuki in New York's 10-2 pummeling of the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
Facing Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey following Eduardo Nunez's leadoff infield single in the eighth, the speedster grounded out to second (4-3).
There had been concern over Gardner, who, after two setbacks, underwent surgery in July, putting too much stress on his right elbow while swinging a bat in an actual game. With Monday's plate appearance going through smoothly, though, his comeback is complete.
"It felt good, man," Gardner, tied in 2011 with Oakland Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp for the AL's top stolen bases total (49), told Yahoo! Contributor Network. "I've been out a long time, since the middle of April. To be able to come back and get healthy before the end of the season, it's a lot of fun."
Added Gardner: "No discomfort. I feel great. It's nice to able to, you know, play and not have to worry about something that's bothering you, or if something that's going to take some steps backward or anything like that. So, a great day, a big win for us. Gotta do it again tomorrow."
Following a scoreless first inning, the Yankees (93-67), ahead of the Baltimore Orioles (92-68) by one game in the AL East coming into Tuesday, exploded for nine runs in the second. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Russell Martin and Mark Teixeira each homered that inning, marking the third time the Yankees have ever slugged four homers in a single frame.
Gardner enjoyed watching his teammates put Boston away early, but conceded that he felt a bit left out.
"The only way it would've been more fun is if you're right in the middle of it gettin' a couple of hits," he said. "We got a dangerous team and a dangerous offense, and when guys get going like that you really feed off of each other. It's a lot of fun to watch."
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Yankees
- Brett Gardner
- Eduardo Nunez
- Ichiro Suzuki