Brett Gardner Added to Roster: Yankees Looking for Speed?

Mike Kutniewski JrCorrespondent IJune 30, 2008

After being shut down by Oliver Perez on Sunday, the Yankees made a few roster moves in the hours following the game.  One of these moves impacted the lineup for the series opener against the Texas Rangers. They purchased the contract of Brett Gardner.


He stands at 5'10" and 180 pounds, and grew up miles away from the Bronx, in Holy Hill, South Carolina.


I can just imagine how it must feel to step into the clubhouse for your first day as a Yankee. But that feeling must change drastically when you realize you’re the lead-off hitter in your first game.


Throughout his first half season of action for Triple A Wilkes Barres-Scranton, Gardner had 34 stolen bases and a .412 on-base percentage.  Those are some pretty impressive numbers, even though racking up steals in AAA is not truly  comparable to doing the same in the big leagues.


The only negative I can see at the moment is that he is a left-handed bat.  The last thing the Yanks need is another lefty off the bench.  Thankfully he wasn’t called up for his bat. 


Gardner has one thing the Yankees need desperately: speed on the bases.  If he is able to adjust and is used as a late inning pinch-runner to get a big steal when the team is down by a run, or to score from first on a late inning hit in the gap, then the decision to give Gardner a chance to play in the major leagues will have been the right one.


With Matsui on the DL and Damon nursing some nagging injuries, Gardner could be set up to get some playing time for however long he’s in the Bronx.


Oh, by the way, he recorded his first career Major League steal in his first career Major League start. Not a bad debut.