Is Brett Gardner Returning to the Yankees as a Pinch-Runner a Joke?

Brian Buckley@brianbuck13Contributor IISeptember 16, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 10:  Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees looks on from the bench during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on May 10, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After numerous vague injury reports, Yankee outfielder Brett Gardner was scheduled to for elbow surgery in late July, which would effectively end his season.  With the appearance of team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad's surgical kit, the 2012 Yankees would have to deal with even less speed on an aging team.

However, manager Joe Girardi and his trusty binder told reporters Gardner’s campaign might not be just over.  Apparently, they are considering bringing back the 29-year-old strictly as a pinch-runner.  “We need to get him on the field in some spikes in some situations that he might be put in before we can decide if he’s ready to go.” said the Yankee skipper.

I get the need for speed on the base paths.  In fact, the Yankee leader in steals this year is Alex Rodriguez.  Yes, the same guy who has missed 39 games due to injuries this year leads the squad in stolen bases, barely breaking double digits.

But, risking the health of a young player like Gardner to simply run the bases is downright silly.  I’m not sure how any doctor, Yankee affiliated or not, could approve someone off elbow surgery to slide headfirst into bases.  At the same time, his sole talent of running clogs a playoff roster (if the playoffs happen) and leaves the team shorthanded.

I hope Girardi was presenting his ever-positive façade to reporters and not actually considering this foolhardy plan of attack.  There’s no use in turning a player’s lost season into something that could put a career in jeopardy.