Brett Gardner to have elbow surgery
OAKLAND, Calif. -- New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery on his troublesome right elbow next week, likely ending his season.
The Yankees said Thursday night Gardner would have inflamed tissue removed in a procedure that will be performed by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. The date of his surgery wasn't yet known. Gardner had an MRI earlier this week after a third setback in his recovery from an elbow strain that has sidelined him since April 18. The Yankees, in making the announcement about an hour before first pitch against Oakland at the Coliseum, said he wasn't expected to play again in 2012.
Ahmad had been set to consult on the results with Dr. James Andrews and Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. Manager Joe Girardi said before the opener of a four-game series against the Athletics that he was preparing to go the rest of the year without Gardner.
''That's kind of what you do. Until someone's back, you really can't say, 'We're counting on this guy,''' Girardi said. ''It's unfortunate because I think we've missed some of the things that he brings to our club. He's had a couple of different setbacks and I think you have to proceed that, if you were to get him, it wouldn't be until at least September.''
The left-handed Gardner was injured making a diving catch in a home game against the Minnesota Twins on April 17. He cut short two minor league rehab assignments because of discomfort in his non-throwing arm.
Gardner batted .321 with three RBIs in nine games in his shortened fifth season with the Yankees. Raul Ibanez is hitting .242 with 12 home runs and 40 RBIs as the regular left fielder for New York playing in Gardner's place.
The 28-year-old Gardner played in 159 games last season and stole an American League-best 49 bases, his second straight year with 40 or more steals.
''Those times where it's hard to create runs, he's the one guy that can do a lot of that,'' Girardi said. ''He puts a lot of pressure on the defense. His defense is outstanding out there. But you look at the numbers that those guys have put up, it's just a different game. It's nice sometimes to have that speed. We're not a club that's going to steal a lot of bases at this point, especially without Gardy and (Eduardo Nunez) Nuney's not here. We're a little different club.''
Also, Girardi called the reports on reliever Joba Chamberlain's progress back from an ankle injury ''very positive.'' He is scheduled to throw for a fourth time with the Gulf Coast Yankees on Friday.
Chamberlain tore a ligament and dislocated his ankle jumping on a trampoline with his son in March, but is expected to return this year. The right-hander is also coming off elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Still, Girardi isn't putting a timetable on when he might be ready - not until he works back-to-back days.
''I think once we get him going back to back, I think you'll have a better idea. You want to see how he responds the second day,'' Girardi said. ''Those 30 days are ticking. I don't think (consecutive days) would be the last test. Let's let the powers that be make that decision.''