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.
Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.
Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.
To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.