Brett Gardner is probably crushed by the news that he will have to undergo surgery that will likely end his 2012 season before it really got started. But the New York Yankees will survive without him.
That’s not to say Gardner won’t be missed. As Yankees manager Joe Girardi has often stated, the Yankees are a completely different team without Gardner. He is the one player who can consistently create runs just by using his legs. No other member of the Yankees has that ability, including Derek Jeter, who is running very well for a baseball player of his age, but is not a stolen base threat anymore.
Ironically, Alex Rodriguez has 10 stolen bases, the most on the Yankees, leading the team in one category he really shouldn’t be leading. He gets paid the big bucks to hit monster home runs and drive in runners on base, not that he is doing a particularly good job of that these days.
The Yankees are merely a team of sluggers without Gardner, which has worked pretty well for them and should continue to work as they cement their lead in the American League East division over the second half of the season. Part of the reason for the Yankees success in surviving Gardner’s injury so far is that they are getting significant contributions from Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones, who have hit a combined 24 home runs and knocked in 66 ribbies.
Girardi will have to be careful about getting both veterans enough rest over the last three months of the regular season to keep them fresh for October. But in that regard, I have nothing but confidence in Girardi because he has done a fantastic job of not burning out his bullpen guys and giving his older fielders days off when needed.
As disappointed as Gardner and the Yankees are about the injury, the Bronx Bombers will continue to bash their way into October. And once they get there, I believe their good starting pitching and superior bullpen will lead the way to another title.