Brett Gardner has experienced a couple of setbacks in his recovery from a strained right elbow, but there’s increased optimism that he could rejoin the Yankees in the near future.
According to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York, Gardner could begin taking batting practice this weekend. The speedy outfielder was cleared to take dry swings earlier this week and was scheduled to hit off a tee and do soft-toss drills for a second straight day today. If he progresses as hoped this weekend, he’ll likely be cleared to begin another minor league rehab assignment.
Gardner still has a few hurdles to cross and given his previous setbacks, the Yankees won’t count on him, but Marchand suggests that a return late next week is possible.
Gardner, 28, was batting .321/.424/.393 with two doubles, three RBI, two stolen bases and an .817 OPS over his first 34 plate appearances before landing on the disabled list in mid April.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.