Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner Join Yankees’ Expanding M.A.S.H Unit

The Red Sox aren’t the only AL East team that’s been ravaged by injuries this season.  The Yankees also have had to soldier on without some key players.

Starting right fielder Nick Swisher and starting left fielder Brett Gardner were unavailable for the series opener against the Rays on Monday night.

Swisher has been slowed by a knee injury and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Tuesday, the Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Craig reports. Gardner has inflammation in his right wrist. He had a cortisone shot on Monday and hopes to return soon. Austin Kearns and Greg Golson are filling the outfield gaps until Swisher and Gardner can return.

Starter Andy Pettitte, who’s still recovering from a groin strain, is scheduled to make his second rehab start for Double-A Trenton on Tuesday. The left-hander is 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts for the Yankees this season.

Relievers Alfredo Aceves and Damaso Marte are both out for the season. Aceves has a bulging disc in his back that could require surgery, and Marte has been on the disabled list since July 17 with an inflamed left shoulder.

First baseman Nick Johnson played in only 24 games this season and will have surgery on an inflamed tendon in his right wrist.

Barring an utter collapse, the Yankees will make the playoffs and have a chance to defend their World Series title. But they will need all the healthy players they can to repeat.

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