According to The New York Times' David Waldstein, the leadoff man could miss the rest of the season:
Brett Gardner having arthroscopic surgery on right elbow next week. Likely done for the season.— David Waldstein (@DavidWaldstein) July 20, 2012
Gardner suffered a setback not too long ago when he felt stiffness in his elbow after completing a simulated game.
Following the setback, Gardner's agent, Joe Bick, did not deny the prospect of the outfielder having to miss the remainder of the season. According to ESPN.com, he said, "We don't want to think that way, but it's certainly got to be in the conversation. The severity of this injury has caught us completely off-guard."
Now that the 28-year-old is reportedly going under the knife for arthroscopic surgery, it has become evident that Bick's concerns were warranted.
The five-year veteran played in a total of nine games this season for the Bombers. In 28 plate appearances, he compiled a .321 average and scored five runs.
New York has been using Derek Jeter in the leadoff spot and Andruw Jones in left field in Gardner's absence, but the organization was hoping that it would only be a stopgap until the speedster returned. It doesn't look like that will change anytime soon.
Last season, Gardner was one of the catalysts in a power-packed Yankees lineup. He hit just .259 at the top of the order, but put together an on-base percentage of .345 and stole 49 bases in 159 games for the first-place Yankees.
The Yankees have been doing just fine since he last played on April 17 and sustained what was then called a bone bruise while trying to make a diving catch. They are currently 9.5 games ahead of the second-place Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.
Nothing is set in stone yet, but the repeated questioning of Gardner's left elbow is far from comforting.