It was just a footnote in last night’s win, but Brett Gardner got an eighth inning at-bat and actually took some swings. He’s been taking batting practice over the last few weeks but has limited to pinch-running/defensive replacement duties off the bench in games. Joe Girardi confirmed last night that his Opening Day left fielder has been cleared by doctors and has zero restrictions going forward. That obviously gives him a leg up on a potential postseason roster spot.
“It’s definitely something you have to think about now … When you talk about a playoff roster, sometimes you have one extra spot for that runner. Now that he’s a full player, it makes it a little bit different,” said the skipper. Girardi added that he does not consider Gardner a full-time player going forward because he hasn’t faced enough big league pitching lately, which is really just a nice way of saying there’s no way in hell they’re taking Ichiro Suzuki out of the lineup considering how well he’s hitting. Still though, having Gardner back to 100% is a huge upgrade for the bench going forward.