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From BR Bullpen
Brett M. Gardner
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 10", Weight 180 lb.
- School College of Charleston
- Debut June 30, 2008
 Biographical Information
In 2008, in 42 games, and 227 at bats, Gardner posted 29 hits, including 2 triples, and 5 doubles for a .229 batting average for the New York Yankees. He also scored 18 runs, and was successful in 13 out of 14 stolen base attempts. He also played errorless defense in the outfield.
In 2009 spring training, Gardner was competing for the starting job as the Yankees center fielder with Melky Cabrera. He ended up making the team and sharing playing time with Cabrera. In the spring, he had received the "Kevin Lawn Award" for being the Yankees' top minor league batter the previous season. In 2010, he was the Yankees' opening day left-fielder, having beaten out veteran newcomers Randy Winn and Marcus Thames for the job, and celebrated by stealing home against the Boston Red Sox. He went on to hit .277/.383/.379 with 97 runs scored and 47 stolen bases in 150 games and played more games in the outfield than anyone else on the Yankees, mainly in left field, but also in centerfield for 44 games while starter Curtis Granderson was unavailable. He didn't fare as well in the postseason, going 5 for 27 (.185) with no extra-base hits and three walks in 9 games as the Yankees bowed out to the Texas Rangers in the ALCS.
Gardner was installed as the Yankees' leadoff hitter to start the 2011 season, moving Yankee icon Derek Jeter to the second spot in the batting order. He played 159 games that season, hitting .259 with 87 runs scored and leading the American League in stolen bases with 49. He drew 60 walks in addition to his 132 hits. He went 7 for 17 with 5 RBI in the ALDS against the Detroit Tigers, but the Yankees were eliminated in 5 games in spite of his great contribution. In 2012, Gardner only played 9 games for the Yankees before being felled by an injury. On April 17th, he injured his right elbow in making a diving catch against the Minnesota Twins; he tried rehabilitation, but in July an MRI indicated more serious damage and the need for arthroscopic surgery, seemingly ending any hopes of a return that year. He was hitting .321 at the time of the injury and in his absence, veterans Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez received the bulk of the playing time in left field, until the acquisition of Ichiro Suzuki in August. However, Gardner's recovery was quicker than anticipated, and he was back on the field in late September, getting into 7 games as a back-up. He ended the season with a .323 average in only 31 at-bats, but was placed on the Yankees' postseason roster. He did not get a plate appearance in the ALDS, but made his first start since April in Game 3 of the ALCS on October 16th, replacing Nick Swisher in the line-up, and hitting lead-off with Derek Jeter having suffered a broken ankle in Game 1.
Heading into spring training in 2013, the Yankees decided to shuffle their outfield crew, following the departure of Swisher, Jones and Ibanez through free agency. They thus announced that Gardner would be the starter in centerfield, with Granderson moving to left and Ichiro Suzuki patrolling right field. It seemed a perfectly natural move in retrospect, given Gardner's great speed and defensive prowess, but the conservative Yankees had generally been averse in recent years to moving established players from their positions, even if a defensive edge could be gained.