Brett Gardner had another setback, may miss rest of season

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Brett Gardner has suffered yet another setback in his recovery from an elbow injury that was initially deemed minor and the Yankees left fielder is now in danger of missing the remainder of the season.

Brendan Prunty of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Gardner had to be shut down due to soreness in his elbow following a simulated game Sunday, which is the same thing that happened last time he was getting close to returning.

Gardner’s agent described him as “very frustrated” and he’s scheduled for an MRI exam to assess the latest damage, which all stems from a diving catch attempt on April 17 that left him with a bone bruise.

Gardner’s speed, defense, and on-base skills make him a very good all-around outfielder when healthy, but the Raul Ibanez-Andruw Jones platoon has been productive enough that Yankees left fielders rank right around average in OPS for the position.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.