General manager Brian Cashman said Gardner will have a chance to reclaim the starting job in left field during spring training, Brendan Kuty of NJ.com reports. Gardner is coming off one of his worst statistical seasons of his career, as the veteran outfielder hit just .236/.322/.368 with 12 homers and 16 stolen bases across 140 games. He was ultimately relegated to a reserve role down the stretch, with Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks and Andrew McCutchen holding down the outfield. With McCutchen hitting the open market, Gardner is tentatively lined up as the team's No. 1 option in left field, though that could easily change depending on the team's offseason transactions.
Gardner inked a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Yankees for 2019 on Wednesday. The Yankees recently declined Gardner's $12.5 million option, though he received a $2 million buyout from that move, so he will essentially re-join the club on a $9.5 million deal. Gardner was forced to transition to a bench role once Aaron Judge (wrist) returned to the fold in September and statistically had one of his worst years as a major-leaguer dating back to 2008. Across 140 games, he slashed just .236/.322/.368 with 12 home runs, 45 RBI and 16 stolen bases. Depending on New York's upcoming moves this offseason, Gardner could have a shot at winning the starting job in left field, but in all likelihood he'll be relegated to more of a reserve role in 2019.
Gardner is not in the lineup Tuesday against Boston. In Aaron Judge's first start since returning from a wrist injury, Andrew McCutchen will slide over to left field, bumping Gardner to the bench. The Red Sox are starting righty Nathan Eovaldi, but the right-handed McCutchen gets the start over the left-handed Gardner nonetheless, suggesting that Gardner is due for a bench role rather than a platoon role down the stretch. Judge will likely require the occasional off day as he eases back into action following an extended absence, so Gardner will still get some at-bats, but expect his role to be limited.
Gardner is not in the lineup Wednesday against the Twins, Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Gardner will sit for a second straight day following a string of 13 consecutive starts. There has been no report of any injury to this point, so it appears manager Aaron Boone is simply riding the hotter hands and giving the veteran outfielder an extended rest. Giancarlo Stanton will start in left field Wednesday, with Luke Voit at DH and Greg Bird covering first base.
Gardner is not in the lineup Tuesday against the Twins, Erik Boland of Newsday reports. Gardner will sit after making 13 straight starts, a stretch in which he hit just .234 with a .663 OPS. Giancarlo Stanton will move out to left field in his absence, with Gary Sanchez acting as the designated hitter and Austin Romine behind the plate.