But that wasn’t the worst part about what seemed like a harmless strikeout. Gardner did not come out to the field in the bottom of the inning and was replaced by Curtis Granderson. The news is now out that Gardner has a left oblique strain. The chips keep falling for these resilient Yankees, who are fighting for their playoff lives. Gardner has been a mainstay in their offense and one of the most durable players on the roster this year.
Oblique strains can keep players out for a while because every baseball player uses the torque in their hips and sides to generate power. Gardner’s future is uncertain; the leadoff spot will most likely be given to Ichiro Suzuki, another left-handed outfielder with speed.
He is, of course, 39-years-old and doesn’t have the same speed as Gardner, who can create runs on his own. But, Ichiro is still a solid player who can handle the bat as well as anyone in the league. He does the little things like bunting, advancing runners in critical situations, and is a great base runner. He also has the uncanny ability to flare unhittable pitches over the shortstop’s head, which no other player in the league can do.
I’m not saying that Gardner is one of the everyday players that is the easiest to deal with, but the Yanks do have depth in the outfield — four of the remaining healthy ones are previous All-Stars. It’s still a punch in the gut to a team that has fought through an inordinate amount of injuries all year, but if there is a team that can do it, I believe that the Yankees can.
Can the Yankees overcome Gardner’s injury and continue their push for the final Wild Card spot? Come out to the ballpark and cheer for the Yankees for the final stretch of the 2013 season. Buy Yankees tickets here.