Brett Gardner could take batting practice this weekend

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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.