The team might be forced to make another decision before that, however, thanks to the low-grade hamstring strain Nick Swisher suffered in yesterday’s game. As of now, it appears the team does not intend to place him on the disabled list, though the injury will take a “few days” to heal. Since the Yankees are already working with a short bench, having Swisher unavailable will make things even tighter over the next few days, as the team will have only three true outfielders (and one of them is Raul Ibanez) available to manager Joe Girardi until Gardner comes back, with Eduardo Nunez forced into the fourth outfielder role. They’ll also have just two players available on the bench in whichever combination of Russell Martin/Chris Stewart and Eduardo Nunez/Eric Chavez isn’t in the starting lineup that night.
Personally, I don’t think much will come out of Swisher’s situation. The Yankees ought to be able to rough it for three home games before Gardner comes back, at which point they’d just be in the same situation they’ve been playing with since Gardner hit the DL. If Swisher’s injury is more troublesome than anticipated, he’ll be placed on the DL himself, which will free up the needed roster spot to bring reinforcements up from the minors.It’s Gardner’s return that presents a real reason for concern for Garcia as, unless the corresponding move is to put Swisher on the DL, the Yankees will have to decide whether they’d rather have Garcia or Mitchell in the long relief role.
If there’s a silver lining in this weekend for Garcia, it’s that both Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman have been about as effusive in their praise of him as they possibly could be, given the circumstances. That could all be simply a way of being tactful and polite, but Cashman, at least, has already put his not-so-metaphorical money where his mouth is when he hurried to lock Freddy up for this season all the way back in November. The team clearly likes Garcia quite a bit, and seems to have a lot more faith in him than they should based on his 3.62 ERA from a year ago. Because of that, I very much doubt that the team will opt to sending Garcia altogether rather than option Mitchell back to the Empire State Yankees, but if it were my call, Saturday afternoon would be our final memory of Freddy’s tenure in pinstripes.