Gardner may be activated as pinch-runner

September, 15, 2012
9/15/12
1:46
PM ET
Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner's season was thought to be over.

Not anymore.

Manager Joe Girardi on Saturday left open the possibility that Gardner (elbow surgery) could be activated soon as a pinch-runner. Girardi said the team still needs to see how Gardner responds, in his spikes, to situational drills on the field.

"This is a guy that we don't expect to be able to hit for us," Girardi said, "but is it possible that he could do some other things? Yes."

Gardner participated in bunting drills on the field Saturday and also ran the bases. Girardi said Gardner will also run the bases Sunday before the team decides how to proceed going forward.

"I feel good. Today was the first day that I've been able to run out on the dirt and practice stealing bases and things like that," Gardner said.

"I think I'm a couple days away from possibly being able to be in a game. That's obviously gonna be up to them. I'm not swinging a bat right now. I'm hopeful to do that maybe next week; we'll see how that goes."

Girardi said there is still some concern about Gardner playing defense, but Gardner said he has no reservations about diving for balls in the outfield. He was injured while making a diving catch on April 17 against Minnesota, and has been on the disabled list ever since.

Gardner said he has felt better for about 1½ to two weeks.

• There is still no timetable on when first baseman Mark Teixeira (calf) will begin hitting in the cage.

Derek Jeter (ankle), who batted second and served as the DH on Saturday, will not play shortstop until Tuesday at the earliest, Girardi said. Despite committing a crucial ninth-inning error Friday, Eduardo Nuñez started at short in Jeter's place.

• Even though Nova and southpaw Andy Pettitte are back this week, Girardi will not use a six-man rotation because of the off-day Monday. Pettitte (ankle) will start Tuesday against Toronto.

Mike Mazzeo

ESPN New York Writer

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
13 2.77 141 136
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146