Gardner Getting On A Roll

It's not often an injury is just what the doctor ordered when it comes to turning a season around, but that just might be the case with Brett Gardner. Hitting just .211 before a hand injury put him on the shelf for five weeks, he has hit .397 since his return and Gardner credits his injury as the reason for his quick turnaround.

"Last year was my first full season so I'm still getting acclimated with everything with the full season," Brett Gardner said as to the difference from last year to this season. "It's just a long season. I was in Tampa and then moved up here [to Trenton] and didn't know what to expect."

"This year I'm kind of more at home and it's just a lot of fun. Unfortunately I was out for five weeks or whatever with the hand injury, but since I've come back from that I've tried to get on a little roll and things have been going pretty good."

'Pretty good' might be an understatement. After collecting two more hits in Trenton's 5-4 loss to Erie on Monday, Gardner has hit safely in 15 of his 17 games since returning from the disabled list on June 8th, collecting nine multi-hit games during that span.

"I'm trying to work on my timing at the plate," said the centerfielder. "I'm trying to simplify things at the plate with my stride. It makes my timing better, trying to be a little early, and trying to recognize pitches and get good pitches to hit."

Raising his average from .211 to .288 since coming back, he not only says there are no ill effects from the injured hand, but he has the numbers to prove it.

"It feels great," Gardner said of his hand, "you can't even tell anything was wrong with it. When I started swinging a couple of weeks ago it felt just a little bit weak but I was fortunate I didn't have a cast on it - it was removable. I was fortunate that I could keep my forearm, wrist, and hand, keep them working. I didn't lose too much from that standpoint."

While he has quickly improved his batting average and slugging percentage since his return, his extra-base hit percentage has remained relatively the same. But Gardner is quick to point out that isn't a focus of his right now.

"It's going good," he said of his developing gap power. "Obviously coming back from my hand injury, all I'm trying to do right now is get back in the groove, kind of see the ball and hit the ball wherever it's pitched."

"As my strength comes back and as I get more comfortable at the plate, I'm going to try and start driving the ball more. That's something I need to continue to work on but I also think that's something that's going to come over the next few years as I mature as a hitter. I'm not really trying to rush into that."

Not too concerned with hitting for more power and concentrating more on making consistent contact and getting on base at a higher rate, Gardner believes his stint on the disabled list allowed him to make some adjustments to his offensive game.

"Not really," he said if the hand injury interrupted any momentum he had built up in Spring Training. "I really just try to look at it the opposite way. It helped me. I had gotten off to a slow start in the month of April and was struggling right before I got hurt."

"It kind of let me take a step back and look at the big picture in the grand scheme of things. Even though I missed five weeks, it's over with and now I'll play the rest of the season and we'll see what happens."

"I think it allowed me to work on some things. I changed my swing up a little bit, changed up my stride. I think that's going to help with my timing and recognize the pitch early. That should allow me to make more consistent contact," he concluded.

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\r\n \r\n\r\n\"Last year was my first full season so I'm still getting acclimated with everything with the full season,\" Brett Gardner said as to the difference from last year to this season. \"It's just a long season. I was in Tampa and then moved up here [to Trenton] and didn't know what to expect.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"This year I'm kind of more at home and it's just a lot of fun. Unfortunately I was out for five weeks or whatever with the hand injury, but since I've come back from that I've tried to get on a little roll and things have been going pretty good.\"
\r\n
\r\n'Pretty good' might be an understatement. After collecting two more hits in Trenton's 5-4 loss to Erie on Monday, Gardner has hit safely in 15 of his 17 games since returning from the disabled list on June 8th, collecting nine multi-hit games during that span.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm trying to work on my timing at the plate,\" said the centerfielder. \"I'm trying to simplify things at the plate with my stride. It makes my timing better, trying to be a little early, and trying to recognize pitches and get good pitches to hit.\"
\r\n
\r\nRaising his average from .211 to .288 since coming back, he not only says there are no ill effects from the injured hand, but he has the numbers to prove it.
\r\n
\r\n\"It feels great,\" Gardner said of his hand, \"you can't even tell anything was wrong with it. When I started swinging a couple of weeks ago it felt just a little bit weak but I was fortunate I didn't have a cast on it - it was removable. I was fortunate that I could keep my forearm, wrist, and hand, keep them working. I didn't lose too much from that standpoint.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile he has quickly improved his batting average and slugging percentage since his return, his extra-base hit percentage has remained relatively the same. But Gardner is quick to point out that isn't a focus of his right now.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's going good,\" he said of his developing gap power. \"Obviously coming back from my hand injury, all I'm trying to do right now is get back in the groove, kind of see the ball and hit the ball wherever it's pitched.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"As my strength comes back and as I get more comfortable at the plate, I'm going to try and start driving the ball more. That's something I need to continue to work on but I also think that's something that's going to come over the next few years as I mature as a hitter. I'm not really trying to rush into that.\"
\r\n
\r\nNot too concerned with hitting for more power and concentrating more on making consistent contact and getting on base at a higher rate, Gardner believes his stint on the disabled list allowed him to make some adjustments to his offensive game.
\r\n
\r\n\"Not really,\" he said if the hand injury interrupted any momentum he had built up in Spring Training. \"I really just try to look at it the opposite way. It helped me. I had gotten off to a slow start in the month of April and was struggling right before I got hurt.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It kind of let me take a step back and look at the big picture in the grand scheme of things. Even though I missed five weeks, it's over with and now I'll play the rest of the season and we'll see what happens.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I think it allowed me to work on some things. I changed my swing up a little bit, changed up my stride. I think that's going to help with my timing and recognize the pitch early. That should allow me to make more consistent contact,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

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\r\n

\r\n

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