Joe Girardi met with Brett Gardner after Friday night’s game about the condition of his right ankle.
“I said to Gardy, ‘You have to be honest with me here,’ ” the Yankees’ manager said.
Gardner had been drilled by a pitch from Chris Archer on the top center of the ankle in the first inning against the Rays at Yankee Stadium. He scored on Alex Rodriguez’s double and kept playing, but it was difficult. Gardner told Girardi he doubted he could play Saturday, which led to Aaron Judge’s call-up.
Girardi said he hopes Gardner will miss only a couple of games. After sitting out the Yankees’ 8-4 win on Saturday, though, Gardner wasn’t ready to say he will miss Sunday’s series finale.
“It’s pretty stiff,” he said. “I did a bunch of treatment and really kept a compression wrap on there to try to keep the swelling down and a lot of ice. I’ll have a better idea when I wake up how much it improves.”
Aaron Hicks replaced Gardner in leftfield, batted second and went 2-for-4, including a three-run homer that gave the Yankees a 6-3 lead. It was his second homer in two games. Judge’s arrival makes for a more crowded outfield, but Hicks is on an 8-for-22 run that has lifted his average to .203.
“I’ve just been having consistent at-bats,” he said. “I’ve been hitting the ball pretty solid and I’ve been putting the ball in play more, and with that just comes better odds of getting a hit and succeeding.”
Besides releasing Rodriguez, the Yankees optioned reliever Ben Heller to make room for Judge and Tyler Austin. Reliever Conor Mullee (right elbow surgery) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster . . . Didi Gregorius started in the cleanup spot for the first time in his career and smacked homer No. 15.