NEW YORK -- Add one more fan to what promises to be a pivotal four-game series in the Bronx. Brett Gardner will have a great view on Thursday as the Yankees try to snap their 0-8 drought against the Red Sox.
The 25-year-old outfielder has watched intently on television since the club left town without him, losing at least two weeks to the disabled list with a fractured left thumb.
Gardner believes that the cast may come off Tuesday and he hopes to rejoin the active roster shortly after that. Until then, the Yankees dugout bench and his living room couch will have to do.
"It's been tough, but it could be a lot worse," Gardner said. "I'm trying to look at it from a positive side and just get healthy as soon as I can. The guys have been playing great, Melky [Cabrera] has been playing great and it's been a lot of fun to watch."
Gardner was injured while breaking up a double play on July 25, sliding into Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis and reaching his left hand out to touch the base. His thumb did not clear the bag, but Gardner played the rest of that game, including legging out an RBI triple.
Gardner said that doctors had told him he would wear a hard cast for approximately 2 1/2 weeks. In his absence, the Yankees moved to acquire utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr. from the Reds on July 31, who is capable of playing center field but has not done so yet in his new uniform.
Cabrera has played at a high level since then, including producing the first Yankees cycle since Tony Fernandez in 1995 on Monday. In the meantime, Gardner said there have been exercises he can perform to remain in baseball form and reduce whatever rehab time he might need.
"At least it's not something with my leg or ankle where it kind of puts me out of everything," Gardner said. "I'm keeping my legs in shape and you can still do shoulder exercises and things like that. I'm staying healthy and just got to sit back and relax and be patient, as hard as it is to do."
New York's Opening Day center fielder, Gardner was hitting .275 (55-for-200), with 20 stolen bases in 85 games. Since May 13, he was hitting .308 (40-for-130), with 25 runs scored, three homers and 16 RBIs.
"It's tough not being there, but as long as we're winning, I'm happy," Gardner said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.