NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner swung a bat in a Major League game for the first time since April, yet another encouraging indication that the Yankees may carry him on their postseason roster.
Gardner appeared as an eighth-inning pinch-hitter in the Yankees' 10-2 win over the Red Sox, grounding out against Andrew Bailey. It was the first plate appearance for Gardner, the Yankees' Opening Day left fielder, since undergoing arthroscopic right elbow surgery in late July.
Manager Joe Girardi said that Gardner is now cleared to be a full player, though he hasn't seen enough game action to appear in the starting lineup.
"The hard thing is getting him at-bats," Girardi said. "I tried to pick a spot tonight where I knew he'd see a right-hander. I didn't want him to face [left-hander] Andrew Miller his first at-bat back."
Girardi said that the Yankees would certainly consider carrying Gardner as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement, however. They did something similar in 2009, carrying speedster Freddy Guzman for the American League Championship Series against the Angels.
"It's definitely something you have to think about now," Girardi said. "When you talk about a playoff roster, sometimes you have one extra spot for that runner. Now that he's a full player, it makes it a little bit different."