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Joe Girardi says Brett Gardner is using the whole field better

Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees follows

Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees follows through on a first inning RBI double against the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, June 8, 2016. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Joe Girardi hasn’t noticed a significant physical difference in the Brett Gardner he’s seeing now at the plate compared to the one who, not too long ago, was in a 0-for-24 slide.

“I think he’s using the whole field, which I think has helped, and sometimes you’re seeing the ball better,” Girardi said. “But a lot of times when guys go through their struggles, they’re just missing their pitches. They walk a real fine line. Now he’s not missing them.”

Gardner entered Saturday night’s game with an eight-game hitting streak. He was 16-for-30 during that stretch, raising his average from .211 to .262, and scored 11 runs.

The Yankees, not coincidentally in Girardi’s eyes, entered Saturday with a chance to match their season high of six straight victories.

“He’s finding ways to use the whole field,” Girardi said. “And he’s been a big part of this winning streak.”

Full-time at first

Because of a slew of injuries, Rob Refsnyder, until further notice, is the everyday first baseman. It is a position the 25-year-old never played until June 3, when he replaced an injured Mark Teixeira.

“I give him a lot of credit because this is not something easy,” Girardi said. “And he has embraced it, and I think he’s done a pretty good job. There’s going to be some ups and downs because there’s some plays that he’s never really experienced. But I give him a lot of credit.”

Four score and…

The Yankees entered Saturday night with the second-best winning percentage in the majors this season when scoring at least four runs (25-4, .862), trailing the Cubs (37-2, .949).

But they also had scored two or fewer runs 24 times, going 2-22 in those games.

The other McCann

Girardi has been impressed with James McCann, the Tigers’ 25-year-old catcher (no relation to Brian).

“It’s not easy being a young catcher, especially when you have a lot of experienced pitchers like he has,” Girardi said. “All these guys were pretty used to [Alex] Avila, and I think he’s done a really good job.”

Avila, a Tigers catcher from 2009-15, is now with the White Sox.

Extra bases

Chasen Shreven, on the disabled list since May 26 with a joint sprain in his left shoulder, will pitch in a rehab outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday in Columbus against the Clippers . . . Entering Saturday night, Alex Rodriguez had five career homers against Tigers starter Justin Verlander, including one in each of his last four regular-season games against the righthander. One of those was his 3,000th career hit June 19, 2015.

New York Sports