TAMPA, Fla. - When Chris Carter of the Astros hit a two-run homer in the first inning Saturday against the Yankees, centerfielder Chris Young lost his glove over the wall in a leaping attempt to catch the ball.
What to do? Leftfielder Brett Gardner had a plan.
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Gardner jumped over the 8-foot-high wall and retrieved the glove and ball. He then jumped back onto the warning track and the game resumed.
Manager Joe Girardi was not amused. He wasn't angry, but he wasn't happy, either.
"I told him, 'This isn't Little League,' '' Girardi said.
Asked what he was thinking, he said: "Oh, God, please don't get hurt . . . I told him when he came in, 'Gardy!' He was like, 'Well, I was just trying to speed up the game.' I said, 'Gardy, I had a glove coming out. Don't do that again, please.' We've seen guys hit a home run and jump up and land on the plate and break an ankle. Gardy thought he was in the movie 'Sandlot' or something."
Asked what in the world he was thinking, Gardner said: "Chris Young was like, 'You think I should jump over there?' I said, 'If you're not going to, I am. Otherwise we're going to be waiting 10 minutes and somebody's going to go out there and get your glove.' ''
Gardner said he wasn't worried about getting injured.
"The fence wasn't that high," he said. "It wasn't like I was jumping over the Green Monster or anything . . . That fence is dirty, too, by the way. Real dirty. Dirty, dusty."
Gardner said it didn't occur to him he might not be able to get back over. What would he have done then?
"I don't know," he said. "I probably would have walked back to the players' lot to my truck and left."
Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran will stay behind for the two days the Yankees are on the East Coast playing the Mets and Nationals and will get multiple at-bats in minor-league games starting Sunday. Mark Teixeira, Stephen Drew, Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley will play against the Mets and then return to Tampa. Gardner, Young and Brian McCann will join their teammates Monday in Viera to face Washington with Bryan Mitchell, a long shot to earn the fifth spot in the rotation, on the mound . . . Andrew Bailey threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts in the Yankees' 3-2 victory. It was the former Oakland closer's second outing as he attempts to return from shoulder surgery.