Does it count as the first injury of Spring Training if it happened in the 2015 Wild Card game? That's something to ponder based on the news that came out yesterday regarding Brett Gardner. Turns out Gardner hurt his left wrist making a leaping catch at the wall in last October's Wild Card game and he's been feeling the after-effects ever since. Chad Jennings has the full story on the injury, how it hampered Gardner's offseason work and preparation for Spring Training, and where it puts him schedule-wise now that camp has opened, but the general gist is Gardner is behind where he usually is at this point. The injury was diagnosed as a bone bruise and according to Gardner it "lingered" long enough for him to go back and get a second opinion. He didn't do his normal offseason swing work in the months leading up to camp and he hasn't been cleared by team trainers to start hitting live pitching yet. Gardner did say he feels a lot better than he did a few weeks ago and right now he doesn't consider his Opening Day readiness to be in doubt.
Reading news about a lingering bone bruise probably causes painful flashbacks to Mark Teixeira's injury last season for some people. I know it did for me. But it doesn't sound like this is quite that serious. And even if it is, I don't think it will have as big an impact on the plan for Gardner as people might think. Gardner was going to get more rest this season regardless of his physical condition coming into camp, as was Jacoby Ellsbury. The Yankees acquired Aaron Hicks for exactly that reason and I don't think Joe is going to hesitate to play Hicks regularly whenever anybody in his starting outfield trio needs a day. This is definitely something to monitor as Gardner increases the intensity of his workouts and gets into the full swing of Spring Training activity, but it's too early to get too worried about it.