NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – With the season winding down and the American League East still in doubt, the Yankees are considering activating outfielder Brett Gardner, the team’s official site reported on Tuesday evening.

The catch? He wouldn’t be asked to hit.

The 29-year-old would solely be used as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner.

“He can play defense if we needed him to play some defense,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s not going to be able to hit, but you have enough guys on your bench that if his spot came up in a crazy game, you could do something.”

The 2011 American League stolen-bases leader had arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow on July 24, and he isn’t likely to face Major League pitching any time soon.

Girardi added that Gardner could potentially be on the Yankees’ postseason roster, despite his limitations with the bat.

“I wouldn’t say he’s completely ruled out,” Girardi said. “I’m sure it’s something that, if you’re sitting around the table, you would talk about it.”

Gardner doesn’t expect to be able to hit by the end of the season, but he’s certainly not ruling it out.

“I think if the timetable works out, maybe the last few days of the season I could be ready for that, but there’s no need in me even speculating on that,” Gardner said. “I know what my role is. I’m obviously excited to do that. I realize with that sort of thing, I might not play for a week. It just depends on how the games go and what kind of situations pop up, but I’m ready if they need me.”

Gardner is currently on the 60-day disabled list. He played in nine games in 2012 before getting hurt, batting .321 with two doubles, three RBIs and two stolen bases.

If the Yankees make the postseason, is Gardner a waste of a roster spot if he isn’t able to hit? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…

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