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Brett Gardner returns to Yankees, but role will be limited

Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira look on during

Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira look on during a game against the Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 22, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

MINNEAPOLIS — Brett Gardner is finally back on the Yankees roster.

But he won’t be a fully active player, Joe Girardi said. Instead, the outfielder’s primary role will be that of a pinch runner and defensive replacement.

“I don’t know how realistic it is that he could do more,’’ Girardi said before Tuesday night’s game. “He still has to go through some BP.’’

Gardner hit in the cage Tuesday, but Wednesday he hopes to take batting practice with the team before Thursday night’s game in Toronto. The feeling is there just aren’t enough games left to get him back to being an everyday player.

Gardner played only nine games before suffering a right elbow strain diving for a ball, leading to surgery in July, which most thought would end his season.

“I’m excited,’’ Gardner said. “Something I’ve been ready for for a little while.’’  

New York Sports