Brett Gardner has elbow strain

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner will be out at least another three to four weeks because of his injured right elbow, the team announced Thursday.

Gardner played in only nine games before being placed on the disabled in April. He has twice tried to come back on minor-league rehab assignments only to be shut down both times.

After his latest setback, the Yankees sent Gardner to see specialists Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Timothy Kremchek. On Thursday, Dr. Kremchek administered platelet-rich plasma and cortisone shots. The doctors have diagnosed Gardner with an elbow muscle strain, a bone bruise and joint inflammation, the team announced.

Manager Joe Girardi predominately has used Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones in place of Gardner in left field. But at this point in their careers, neither is nearly as good defensively as Gardner.

"I don't want to overexpose the old guys," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said recently.

Also, the Yankees have little speed without Gardner. Alex Rodriguez and Eduardo Nunez lead the team in steals with six.

Cashman, unavailable for comment Thursday, has not ruled out making a trade if Gardner is to be out an extended period. Now, if Gardner will be ready for much of the season's second half, Cashman likely won't feel an urgency to make a deal.

The Yankees on Thursday also activated right-hander David Robertson from the 15-day DL and optioned right-hander David Phelps to Class A Tampa.

information from The Associated Press was used in this report.