Bronx, NY—At the end of the fourth inning of the game between the Yankees and the Oakland Athletics on Thursday afternoon, an announcement on the Public Address system of Yankee Stadium was made that Brett Gardner was selected to the American League All-Star team. Gardner was chosen to the 34 man roster by American league manager Ned Yost to replace them injured Alex Gordon. Previous to his selection on Thursday, Gardner was one of five players on the “Final Vote’ ballot for the final spot on the roster of the 2015 A.L. team.
Gardner will join teammates Mark Teixeira and Dellin Betances on the American League squad for Tuesday’s game at the Great American ballpark in Cincinnati. The announcement was flowed by the chanting of Gardner’s name throughout the ballpark, which the outfielder responded to with a wave of his hand. He called the reaction of the fans “awesome”.
Gardner expressed surprise by his selection, “I was surprised. It caught me off guard. I had no idea. There’s a lot of great outfielders in the American League.”
In addition to being surprised, he was very excited by what he stated could be his final opportunity to receive this honor, ‘I’m sure next week will be a lot of fun. I’m really excited about it. I’ll be 32 years old next month. I don’t know how many opportunities I’ll get. I’m very grateful.”
Asked if he’s looking forward to wearing the All-Star uniform, Gardner joked, “I never had a jersey with my name on the bacvk. I’m not saying the Yankees should change.”
Gardner’s play in recent weeks earned him serious consideration by the fans voting and by the American League manager. During the month of June, Gardner batted a superlative .351 (39 for 111) and 18 of his hits were for extra bases. His 27 runs scored in that month led the majors.
His best performance of the six game homestand that ended on Wednesday afternoon came in the final game against Oakland. He blasted his 10th home run of the season on the first pitch of his at bat in the first inning. The homer accounted for the first run of the contest. The run was the 76th scored by the Yankees in the first inning of a game in 2015, the highest run total by any team in a single inning this season. The Yankees have compiled a mark of 25-9 when scoring in the first.
Gardner singled in the third and fourth frames, the only other innings in which they scored on Thursday; the game ended the homestand on a high note with a 6-2 win. His fine hitting has raised Gardner’s season batting average to .303.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi was very pleased by what he believes was a very well-deserved choice, “He’s [Gardner] so important to our team. I believe he deserved to go and now he’s going.”