Yankees, Brett Gardner avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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No word yet on the money, but Brett Gardner and the Yankees have avoided arbitration with a one-year contract.

Gardner missed all but 16 games this year because of an elbow injured suffered in April and was arbitration eligible for the second time after making $2.8 million in 2012.

Prior to the injury he was an elite defensive left fielder and a dynamic player at the bottom of the Yankees’ lineup, getting on base at a .360 clip and stealing 45 bags per 150 games from 2009-2011. He’ll be under team control again in 2014 before becoming a free agent at age 30.

UPDATE: Gardner signed for $2.85 million.

Kendrys Morales pitched a scoreless inning Sunday

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Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.

Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.

Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.

On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.