Brett Gardner could be activated from the disabled list Wednesday, giving the New York Yankees a dangerous pinch runner and defensive specialist to use off the bench during the final two weeks of the season.
Gardner has been out since April 17 with a right elbow strain, an injury that eventually required surgery in late July following three failed rehab attempts.
"It's just unfortunate that I had the surgery when I did because the season is coming down to a close and I wish I could have had it sooner, but at the time, I really didn't think that was option," Gardner said. "Looking back, I would have loved to have done it in April, but we didn't think it was something that was necessary.
"I'm excited to be back, even though there's only a little bit of time; hopefully I can get in a game or two and help out."
Gardner has been taking fly balls and throwing for a couple of weeks, and although he began a hitting program by taking dry swings Tuesday, there might not be enough time left in the season for him to become a hitter for the Yankees. Still, manager Joe Girardi didn't rule out the possibility of using Gardner on the postseason roster if he shows that he's healthy.
"He can play defense if we needed him to play some defense," Girardi said. "He's not going to be able to hit (in September), but you have enough guys on your bench that if his spot came up in a crazy game, you could do something."