Gardner plans for batting practice Tuesday

Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner will attempt to take live batting practice Tuesday, which would be the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a right elbow strain on April 19. He's still not sure when he will return, although he is eligible to return Thursday.

"I think I'm still a few days away from (returning) but as long as I don't have any setbacks, keep making progress and head in the right direction, don't know if it could be Thursday, Saturday, Monday, who knows," Gardner said. "As long as I keep heading in the right direction I'll be happy whenever it may be."

Gardner swung the bat Saturday or the first time since his injury, taking 10 free swings and about 15 off a tee. He swung in the cage Sunday and Monday, but the big step will be taking live batting practice. Manager Joe Girardi needs to see Gardner in batting practice before the left fielder returns, as well as potentially playing in a minor league game or two.

"Hopefully wake up tomorrow, everything feels good, go out on the field and take a full BP and go from there," Gardner said.

The Yankees would benefit fro Gardner returning sooner rather than later as right fielder Nick Swisher will miss at least the next three games with a low-grade strained left hamstring. Eduardo Nunez, normally an infielder, is starting in the outfield Monday and the team's defense takes a dip when Gardner is not patrolling left field.