UPDATE: An MRI confirmed a Grade 1 strain of the oblique, manager Joe Girardi announced on Friday. "He's going to be out a while," Girardi added while acknowledging Gardner's season is likely over.
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Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner was forced to depart in the first inning of Thursday night's key game in Baltimore with what's been announced as a left oblique strain. Gardner, who was in the lineup in center field, batted in the top of the first but then was replaced in center by Curtis Granderson for the home half of the inning.
As Andy McCullough of the Newark Star-Ledger points out on Twitter, oblique injuries typically sideline players for a month or so, which means Gardner could be done until well into the postseason -- if the Yankees even make it that far.
Gardner of course is a standout defensive outfielder, and this season he's batting a useful .273/.344/.416 with 33 doubles and 24 steals in 32 attempts. Needless to say, his loss would be a critical one for the Yankees, who are locked in a tight race for the second AL wild-card berth and already beset by injuries up and down the roster.