Yankees could bring back veteran outfielder if Joey Gallo is forced to miss time

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

Just as New York Yankees slugger Joey Gallo was picking up steam, he suffered a left groin injury against the Kansas City Royals over the weekend. As Gallo took off for second base, he felt a bit of tightness which forced the Yankees to make a decision, pulling him prematurely despite his willingness to stay in the game.

Gallo has elevated his batting average to .180, still an abysmal number, but he’s been far more effective in recent days. Gallo has contributed two homers in the past week but still hosts a 42% strikeout rate, a number he desperately needs to decrease if he wants to become a more reliable offensive weapon.

The former Texas Ranger remains confident that the injury won’t hold him back and he can play if needed, but Miguel Andújar looked good in left field on Sunday, meaning the Yankees will likely take it slow with Gallo’s return.

“I’m not concerned at all,” he said. “I think it just tightened up on me a little bit. Just as a precaution, they thought probably early in the season, in the cold, just come out now and not make it worse.”

There’s always a possibility that general manager Brian Cashman brings back Brett Gardner, who still hasn’t found himself a team despite his desire to continue playing this season. Garner will likely get the call if the Yankees pick up any injuries or need to supplement deficiencies, hitting .222 last season with 10 homers and 39 RBIs.

“He’s been a great Yankee, just a very difficult offseason because of the interruption, and you’re drinking out of a firehouse when the lockout gets lifted. The last few years, he’s been someone we’ve waited to deal with until towards the end (of the offseason), and the way it has played out so far, there wasn’t a spot. … He had a player option for this year, so there was a spot. He chose to opt out, and that set up a course of action on how it all started to play out. Other transactions affected things in the current time frame.”

Gardner is 38 years old, though, and it seems as if the Bombers would prefer to roll with younger options like Tim Locastro and Andujar. Locastro has been phenomenal to start the year defensively, and while his average has dropped a .154, a small sample size of action suggests volatile imbalances.

However, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Yankees brought back Gardy at some point in the season to help mitigate fatigue and provide more value in the leadership category. The Yankees currently hold the best record in baseball have won nine consecutive games, including three straight series, but they have a tough matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays starting on Monday, meaning they will need all hands on deck.

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