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Diamond Smoke: Brett Gardner

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Center fielder Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees dives to make a catch on a ball hit by Chone Figgins of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first inning at Angel Stadium on September 22, 2009 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 23, 2009

The New York Yankees have seen many players step up at different times for them this season. One player that I think is really great for them as the postseason arrives is Brett Gardner.

To get a guy like Gardner back to your team is extremely important because of how unique he is for the team. As many people realize, the Yankees are an aging team with very few young and athletic players. Brett Gardner fills a role that other players on the team don’t.

He is the kind of player who can steal bases consistently, lay down bunt singles, and play center field with world class speed. He infuses the team with the energy that their power hitters lack, and he can single handedly win the team ball games because of his threat to score every time he reaches base.

Last night’s game against the Angels is a perfect example. It’s tied in the 9th inning, and Gardner gets on base to lead off the inning. After stealing second, and moving over to third with less than two outs, Gardner is able to score on a sac fly by A-Rod. Most players on the Yankees roster don’t have the consistent ability to do that like Gardner. He is just what this team needs in a lineup full of power hitters.

If the Yankees find themselves in a postseason battle, and it’s a windy night when the ball is staying in the park, how are they going to get runs? Having a guy like Gardner instantly gives the Yankees a boost in a game like that, and he adds an important dimension that makes this team so much harder to beat. That’s why I feel that getting Brett Gardner back was one of the keys to the Yankees having ultimate success this season, and the reason why they have a legitimate shot at a World Series.

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