Yankees activate Brett Gardner from DL as pinch-runner

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Brett Gardner is back from the disabled list, rejoining the Yankees’ active roster for the first time since mid-April following a series of setbacks with his elbow injury.

However, manager Joe Girardi has indicated that he plans to use Gardner exclusively as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement. Gardner throws left-handed and injured his right elbow, so obviously the belief is that running and playing defense won’t put him at the same risk as hitting would.

Of course, Gardner has been swinging in the batting cage recently, so perhaps it’s not totally out of the question that he could make a late-season appearance as a hitter. Either way, the Yankees’ bench just got a whole lot faster.

Astros talking to Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole about extensions

Justin Verlander
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It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.

That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.