Gardner left Thursday's game against the Baltimore Orioles after his first at-bat, feeling a pain in his ribs on a check-swing strikeout. He immediately informed manager Joe Girardi that he needed to exit the game, telling Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com:
"I felt like if I went out there, it was just going to get worse. I was going to hurt the team 'cause I wasn't anywhere close to 100 percent so I let 'em know."
The outfielder will travel to New York to undergo an MRI. Girardi expects that Garnder will miss "a couple of days," but oblique injuries can linger for 2-3 weeks, which could sideline Gardner for the remainder of the season.
Gardner has had a productive offensive season, batting .273/.344/.416 with 24 steals while playing standout defense. New York will miss his production at the top of the lineup; he has served as the team's primary leadoff hitter.
New York enters Friday with a 79-68 record, one game behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Late Friday afternoon, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Gardner had a Grade 1 strain:
Gardner Grade 1 strain: "out a while" Girardi said. Could come back 1st as pinch runner #Yankees— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 13, 2013
Further reports suggest Gardner will almost certainly miss the remainder of the regular season but could return in time for the playoffs should the Yankees actually win a postseason berth without him.