Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner has been on the disabled list with an injured thumb since July 25 but could return as early as next week.
Gardner suffered the injury sliding hard into A’s second baseman Mark Ellis to break up a potential double play.
Gardner has been taking a cautious approach to rehab. Not wanting to rush back too soon, he’s been resting his thumb for the past month and tested it for the first time on Tuesday by swinging a bat and throwing at about 50 to 60 percent.
Manager Joe Girardi acknowledges the necessity of Gardner getting a good share of at-bats, but he’ll likely first be used as a pinch runner.
"He needs to get some at-bats," Girardi told MLB.com. "How many at-bats he needs, I can't tell you. But I think a lot of [his timetable] depends on how these first few days go."
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