Curtis gets first MLB start as Gardner sits

Curtis gets first MLB start as Gardner sits

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner was out of the lineup for a second consecutive day as he continues to recover from a right wrist contusion. Colin Curtis received the first start of his Major League career in left field.

"It feels so much better today than it did yesterday. The swelling's gone down a lot," said Gardner. "Hopefully tomorrow I feel better and take a full [batting practice] on the field."

Gardner did not hit before Wednesday's game as initially planned. After the team took BP on the field, Gardner was going in for treatment and said there was still a chance he would hit in the cages during the game.

"I think I probably could hit today, but it's up to [the doctors]," Gardner said.

Gardner is available to pinch-run and be a defensive replacement, and he said he could play Thursday even if he doesn't hit at all on Wednesday.

Curtis, meanwhile, is excited to get his first starting nod in the big leagues. The 25-year-old appeared in all six games on the Yankees' recent road trip, going 2-for-6 at the plate and driving in four runs.

"I don't really know what to expect yet," said Curtis, who was thrown into the fire against Felix Hernandez, before the game. "He's a great pitcher, but if you're going to be successful, you're going to have to face those guys eventually."

Curtis did, of course, deliver the game-tying RBI groundout on Sunday in Los Angeles after a 10-pitch battle with Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton.

With Gardner day-to-day and Marcus Thames on the disabled list, the Yankees have been a bit patchwork in the outfield. Chad Huffman replaced Gardner on Sunday and got the start on Tuesday. Manager Joe Girardi doesn't have a problem playing his youngsters.

"I'm comfortable. These kids have played well for us. They play hard, and you know you're going to get everything from them that they've got that night," Girardi said. "Curtis I saw a lot in Spring Training, and I really liked what he did."