Thursday, September 27, 2012
Brett Gardner: The next Freddy Guzman?
By Wallace Matthews
Don't kick yourself if you can't quite place the name.
Although it's probably not the most vivid memory most Yankees fans have of the 2009 postseason, Freddy Guzman was a member of that year's ALCS roster, whose sole duty was to serve as a pinch runner. And in that limited capacity, he did appear in two games, running for Hideki Matsui in Game 2 and Alex Rodriguez in Game 5. He even got one at-bat, striking out in Game 2 when that one wound up going 13 innings.
Remember this guy?
Guzman's name came up today because, although it has been widely assumed that Brett Gardner would not make the postseason roster unless he was able to hit in one of the Yankees' last seven games of the season, Joe Girardi said that was not necessarily the case.
“We’ve done that before, where we’ve just taken a baserunner," Girardi said. "We did it against the Angels in 2009."
He did not provide the name, because he probably couldn't remember it, and in all honesty, the beat crew was left to search the box scores of that series to figure out who the guy was.
In any event, Gardner did take batting practice with the team on the field before tonight's game for the first time since returning to the club last week, and sprayed a couple of line drives around the field. Gardner said he thought he would need two or three live BP sessions before being ready to try to hit in a game.
"I feel like I'm perfectly capable of doing it (in a game)," he said. "But you never really know until you get out there and do it."
Girardi wasn't so sure Gardner would get the chance. “I don’t think we’ll know until we go through a few days here," Girardi said, no doubt meaning it all depends on where the Yankees are in the standings vis-a-vis the Baltimore Orioles, their dogged pursuers. "I’m curious to see how he does here.”
But even if Gardner can't hit, he still may be able to run in the postseason, following in the footsteps of a trail blazed for him by -- remember the name -- Freddy Guzman.