Gardner sidelined with 'dinged' thumb

Updated: June 10, 2010, 4:12 PM ET
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com

BALTIMORE -- Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner was out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards with what he described as "a little discomfort" in the left thumb he broke last year -- an injury that kept him off the field for six weeks and caused him to miss 40 games.

Gardner arrived in the Yankees clubhouse with his thumb tightly wrapped in adhesive tape. An X-ray of the thumb taken just before the game came back negative. Gardner said he underwent treatment earlier in the day and the injury had responded somewhat.

"There's nothing going on in there like last year," said Gardner, who suffered the break last July when his thumb slammed against second base while trying to break up a double play. "Hopefully, it's nothing and I'll just be day to day."

Gardner was removed for a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's 12-7 Yankees victory, and afterward manager Joe Girardi said Gardner "dinged" the thumb during an at-bat early in the game against Kevin Millwood.

"It's probably happened to him 20 or 30 times since the injury, and it always comes back the next day," Girardi said. "This time, it didn't come back, and that is a concern."

Gardner said he felt the discomfort in his thumb on a check swing during his third-inning at-bat but remained in the game, singling in a run in the seventh before leaving for pinch-hitter Marcus Thames. Gardner remained in the game last July 26, also, after breaking his thumb in the first inning. He later tripled and made two diving catches in center field before informing Girardi of the injury after the game.

"There's definitely a little bit of discomfort, so first things first, let's get an X-ray," Gardner said.

In Gardner's place, rookie Kevin Russo started in left. Gardner came in as a pinch runner, stole a base and scored a run in the win.

In 55 games this season, Gardner is hitting .314 with three home runs, 19 RBIs and a team-high 20 steals, three more than the rest of the team combined. His .395 on-base percentage is third among Yankee regulars, behind only Robinson Cano (.410) and Nick Swisher (.397).

Wallace Matthews is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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