Brett Gardner exits game with left oblique strain


UPDATE: Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News passes along word that Gardner indeed left the game with a left oblique strain. That’s not good.

8:55 p.m. ET: This isn’t what the Yankees need. According to Jack Curry of YES Network, Brett Gardner left tonight’s game against the Orioles in the first inning with an apparent injury.

Gardner led off the game and struck out looking before being replaced by Curtis Granderson in center field in the bottom half of the inning. Curry notes that the speedy outfielder grabbed at his left side after the check-swing strike three, which raises the possibility of an oblique injury. That would obviously be a tough injury at this point of the season, but we should know more soon.

Gardner, 30, is batting .273/.344/.416 with eight home runs, 52 RBI and 24 stolen bases in 145 games this season.

Ryan Zimmerman’s spring training has been . . . weird

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Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.

While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.

Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.

I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.

On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.