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MLB New York Yankees

Brett Gardner is New York Yankees’ X-Factor

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The time to win is now, especially when it comes to playing for the New York Yankees. The team has shown they will not settle down and become sellers at the trade deadline, but rather stay in the AL East playoff picture a little longer with a new group of players. The team has been bothered with injuries all season, but one player who has been there for the vast majority of the season and needs to stay healthy and play as well as he can is outfielder Brett Gardner.

Gardner is second on the team in home runs with 10, tying him with Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann. Let that sink in for a second. The same player who has never had more than eight home runs in an entire season is now tied with two of the premiere free-agent signings from the offseason. All season, Gardner has been under-appreciated and that is fine by him. He will let some of the bigger names take the spotlight and play the same game that landed him a four-year extension before season broke.

The team will need his bat to stay hot. Not exactly with the home runs, but getting on base and continuing to put pressure on pitchers with his base-running and steal abilities. His defense has always been exceptional with that closing down speed, meaning baseballs do not often get past him. The team making the playoffs is a big stretch and needs a lot of luck and good things to go its way. One thing that could certainly go its way is Gardner staying healthy and being capable of playing everyday in the outfield and helping out with things in the lineup.

Arthur Dowell is a Yankees writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @a24dowell, “like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.