UPDATE: Good news for the Yankees. Chad Jennings of the Journal News reports that X-rays came back negative on Gardner’s hand. He’s not in the lineup today, but is available off the bench.
10:04 a.m. ET: According to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com, Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner may go for precautionary X-rays after he was hit on the right hand with a pitch in the third inning of last night’s loss to the Rays.
It’s worth noting that Gardner remained in the game and later tripled and singled. While the speedy outfielder doesn’t appear too concerned, the Yankees would prefer that he goes for tests.
“It’s not that bad,” he said. “So I’m not too worried about it.”
Gardner is batting .269/.337/.406 with eight home runs, 43 RBI and 22 stolen bases over 126 games this season while playing exclusively in center field. The Yankees can’t afford to lose him as they attempt to keep their postseason hopes alive.
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.