Gardner the pinch runner?

Joe Girardi could provide no new information on the condition of Brett Gardner at his pregame news conference. "I called this afternoon, but I think he was in the MRI tube,'' Girardi said.

But in answer to a question, the manager left open the possibility that even if he is not fully healthy, the speedy Gardner could return as a September call-up in another role.

"You could use him as a pinch runner in September, and maybe as a defensive replacement,'' Girardi said. "It just depends on whether he doesn't get healthy and what we need.''

Gardner's right elbow strain pains him when he swings, but presumably would not affect his running or fielding, especially since he throws left-handed.