Brett Gardner out Wednesday with lower abdominal strain

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As first relayed by MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, left fielder Brett Gardner is out of the Yankees’ starting lineup on Wednesday night against the Indians due to a lower abdominal strain. Gardner first thought it was a groin strain, but that more-severe injury has already been ruled out by a team physician.

Zoilo Almonte is starting in left field and the Yankees also had to scratch Carlos Beltran after he fouled a ball off his face during batting practice. So this is what the “Bronx Bombers” are working with …

Gardner is optimistic that he will be able to return action by the end of this week.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.