Gardner Will Use Arizona To Get Ready

Brett Gardner put together a solid 2007 campaign, hitting a combined .281 in stops between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. But missing nearly six weeks of the season with a couple of injuries and amassing just 381 at-bats along the way, he says he's using his second invitation to the Arizona Fall League to get ready for 2008, a year he knows will be a big one for him.

"I'm excited about the opportunity and I feel like there's a reason the Yankees want me to go out there, not only to get more at-bats because I missed six weeks on the disabled list, but to get more at-bats to work on my hitting," Brett Gardner said of getting invited to the Arizona Fall League for the second straight year.

"I've still got a little bit left to prove, especially with the offensive part of my game, so I'm excited going out there and prove to people that I can be consistent at the plate. Not only that, but be consistent on the base paths and in the outfield, and make that next jump."

After hitting .300 for the Trenton Thunder in the first part of the season, the scrappy centerfielder mustered just a .260 average with the Scranton Yankees upon his promotion to Triple-A, his lowest batting average at any minor league level in his career thus far.

Breaking his hand on May 4th with the Trenton Thunder and missing five weeks of the season, and then missing another week with the Scranton Yankees after colliding with the outfield fence against the Louisville Bats on July 27th, caused him to miss a lot of action and have an up and down year.

"I was just trying to figure out the swing this year and I did. Obviously I'm not where I want to be, but I feel I'm close. Anytime that you get the opportunity to go back out to Arizona, hopefully I'll get another 100 at-bats and 25 or 30 games, just figure out a few more things and come Spring Training next year I'll be ready to go."

With the invitation to the Arizona Fall League came the real notion that Gardner, just one step away from the big leagues at Triple-A, would seemingly not be called up to New York this season as a September call-up.

"No not necessarily, because Ross Ohlendorf was supposed to go to Arizona," he said if going the AFL once again ruined his chances of getting called up this year. "I don't know if he still is going or not, but he got called up. I wasn't thinking anything about not going up to New York just because I was going to Arizona.

"Even though I was told I was going to Arizona, I still felt like there was a slight chance - by no means did I expect it to happen - I might have been considered with my ability to pinch-run or go in as a defensive replacement. I guess [Bronson] Sardinha got that opportunity and I'm happy for him.

"He worked real hard and finished the season up strong after they sent him back to Trenton before going back up to Scranton. I am excited for him and the opportunity he's getting."

Seeing his teammate in Trenton and Scranton get the nod instead of him, while also seeing one of his biggest rivals and a player [Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury] he has been compared to since the two were drafted together in 2005, both get promoted this year, has served as some extra inspiration.

"Absolutely," he said if Ellsbury's success gets him excited to get moving. "By no means am I disappointed in how I played, but seeing guys you've played with and against get their opportunities in the big leagues is definitely a lot of motivation."

After hitting .250 with the Peoria Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League last year, and then chipping in with an up and down year riddled with injuries this past season, Gardner views his second trip out west as just another important test in his development.

"It is important to me," he said of his impending trip to the Arizona Fall League, "but everything we do is really important, whether it be in May, June, July, August, September, or the Arizona Fall League, or Spring Training. I think everything we do is put under a microscope and dissected.

"They look at what we do good, what we don't do so good, how close we are, if we can get there, and stuff like that. I feel like everything I do is very, very important on the field and off the field.

"Obviously I think it's very important for me going to Arizona as it is for me in Spring Training and during the season. I'm excited for the opportunity and I think it's important I do well out there and show them that I can hit a little bit."

Reaching the Triple-A level in just is second full year at the professional level, while he wasn't as consistent as he would have liked to have been this past season, he realizes he is just one step closer to reaching the big leagues.

"Just to continue working on my hitting and put up the kind of offensive season out there that people expect me to do and that I expect to do, to prove to everyone that I'm getting closer than I was last year and be the consistent hitter that I can be to make it the Major Leagues," he said of his goals for the Arizona Fall League.

"I feel that if I go out to Arizona and work on the things that I need to work on, and assuming that goes well, I feel like that anytime they want to call on me for whatever reason, I feel like I'd be able to fill those shoes and step up to that next level. Until then, I'm going to continue to work hard and hopefully that will take me where I need to go."

Not making any rash proclamations just yet about where he will be playing at the beginning of the 2008 season, he simply wants to use his time in Arizona to get himself ready for next year, one he realizes will be important.

"I just want to have a good time out in Arizona, work on a few things, do well out there, and then have a good Spring Training. No matter where I start next season, I'm going to be excited. Next year is a big year for me and I'm going to be ready for it," Gardner concluded.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I'm excited about the opportunity and I feel like there's a reason the Yankees want me to go out there, not only to get more at-bats because I missed six weeks on the disabled list, but to get more at-bats to work on my hitting,\" Brett Gardner said of getting invited to the Arizona Fall League for the second straight year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've still got a little bit left to prove, especially with the offensive part of my game, so I'm excited going out there and prove to people that I can be consistent at the plate. Not only that, but be consistent on the base paths and in the outfield, and make that next jump.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter hitting .300 for the Trenton Thunder in the first part of the season, the scrappy centerfielder mustered just a .260 average with the Scranton Yankees upon his promotion to Triple-A, his lowest batting average at any minor league level in his career thus far.
\r\n
\r\nBreaking his hand on May 4th with the Trenton Thunder and missing five weeks of the season, and then missing another week with the Scranton Yankees after colliding with the outfield fence against the Louisville Bats on July 27th, caused him to miss a lot of action and have an up and down year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was just trying to figure out the swing this year and I did. Obviously I'm not where I want to be, but I feel I'm close. Anytime that you get the opportunity to go back out to Arizona, hopefully I'll get another 100 at-bats and 25 or 30 games, just figure out a few more things and come Spring Training next year I'll be ready to go.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith the invitation to the Arizona Fall League came the real notion that Gardner, just one step away from the big leagues at Triple-A, would seemingly not be called up to New York this season as a September call-up.
\r\n
\r\n\"No not necessarily, because Ross Ohlendorf was supposed to go to Arizona,\" he said if going the AFL once again ruined his chances of getting called up this year. \"I don't know if he still is going or not, but he got called up. I wasn't thinking anything about not going up to New York just because I was going to Arizona.
\r\n
\r\n\"Even though I was told I was going to Arizona, I still felt like there was a slight chance - by no means did I expect it to happen - I might have been considered with my ability to pinch-run or go in as a defensive replacement. I guess [Bronson] Sardinha got that opportunity and I'm happy for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"He worked real hard and finished the season up strong after they sent him back to Trenton before going back up to Scranton. I am excited for him and the opportunity he's getting.\"
\r\n
\r\nSeeing his teammate in Trenton and Scranton get the nod instead of him, while also seeing one of his biggest rivals and a player [Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury] he has been compared to since the two were drafted together in 2005, both get promoted this year, has served as some extra inspiration.
\r\n
\r\n\"Absolutely,\" he said if Ellsbury's success gets him excited to get moving. \"By no means am I disappointed in how I played, but seeing guys you've played with and against get their opportunities in the big leagues is definitely a lot of motivation.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter hitting .250 with the Peoria Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League last year, and then chipping in with an up and down year riddled with injuries this past season, Gardner views his second trip out west as just another important test in his development.
\r\n
\r\n\"It is important to me,\" he said of his impending trip to the Arizona Fall League, \"but everything we do is really important, whether it be in May, June, July, August, September, or the Arizona Fall League, or Spring Training. I think everything we do is put under a microscope and dissected.
\r\n
\r\n\"They look at what we do good, what we don't do so good, how close we are, if we can get there, and stuff like that. I feel like everything I do is very, very important on the field and off the field.
\r\n
\r\n\"Obviously I think it's very important for me going to Arizona as it is for me in Spring Training and during the season. I'm excited for the opportunity and I think it's important I do well out there and show them that I can hit a little bit.\"
\r\n
\r\nReaching the Triple-A level in just is second full year at the professional level, while he wasn't as consistent as he would have liked to have been this past season, he realizes he is just one step closer to reaching the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just to continue working on my hitting and put up the kind of offensive season out there that people expect me to do and that I expect to do, to prove to everyone that I'm getting closer than I was last year and be the consistent hitter that I can be to make it the Major Leagues,\" he said of his goals for the Arizona Fall League.
\r\n
\r\n\"I feel that if I go out to Arizona and work on the things that I need to work on, and assuming that goes well, I feel like that anytime they want to call on me for whatever reason, I feel like I'd be able to fill those shoes and step up to that next level. Until then, I'm going to continue to work hard and hopefully that will take me where I need to go.\"
\r\n
\r\nNot making any rash proclamations just yet about where he will be playing at the beginning of the 2008 season, he simply wants to use his time in Arizona to get himself ready for next year, one he realizes will be important.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just want to have a good time out in Arizona, work on a few things, do well out there, and then have a good Spring Training. No matter where I start next season, I'm going to be excited. Next year is a big year for me and I'm going to be ready for it,\" Gardner 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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