Brett Gardner exits game with left oblique strain

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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.

Cubs to activate Craig Kimbrel on Thursday

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The Cubs will activate reliever Craig Kimbrel ahead of Thursday afternoon’s game against the Braves, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.

Kimbrel, 31, ended a seven-month stint in free agency, agreeing to a three-year, $43 million contract with the Cubs earlier this month. He has made four minor league appearances, allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings.

With an aggregate 3.96 ERA entering Wednesday, the Cubs’ bullpen has been among the better bullpens in the league. Adding Kimbrel, one of the greatest closers of all-time, certainly can’t hurt and will give them some stability in save situations.