Still, both are back with the Yankees after lengthy absences, and available for tonight's game against the Minnesota Twins.
Gardner, out since April 18 with a right elbow strain that eventually required surgery for the removal of a bone spur, still has not taken live batting practice on the field and probably will not until the Yankees get to Toronto on Thursday. His duties will be limited to pinch-running and as a possible late-inning defensive replacement. Aardsma, who had Tommy John surgery last July and has not thrown a pitch in a big-league game in more than two years, will be used in low-pressure situations, if at all.
"We feel that Gardy can help us on the base paths," Joe Girardi said. “I don’t know how realistic it is that he could do more. He’s not ready to hit in a game, so the best we can do right now is use him as a pinch runner and a defender.”
Which probably means that for the postseason roster, Gardner is that rarest of commodities, a luxury not even the Yankees can afford. Who do you displace from the 25-man roster to make room for a position player who doesn't hit?
"I haven’t even thought about that, to be honest with you," Gardner said. "A lot of things can happen between now and then and I’ll just focus on trying to stay healthy. I'm just excited to be here and able to play again."
As for Aardsma, Girardi was unable to identify a spot in which he would be comfortable using a pitcher who last pitched in the major leagues in September 2010. “We'll have to be careful where we use him," Girardi said. “It won’t probably (be) in a close game, you wouldn’t think, to start out. We’ll have to see how he does.”