Girardi prefers Gardner stay away from climbing walls

Left fielder hops fence to retrieve Young's glove, Carter's HR ball

Girardi prefers Gardner stay away from climbing walls

TAMPA, Fla. -- Brett Gardner trimmed a few minutes from the afternoon by scaling the center-field fence and retrieving teammate Chris Young's lost glove, but the Yankees would have strongly preferred if he had kept his feet planted on the ground.

Gardner received a standing ovation from the crowd of 9,914 during the Yanks' 3-2 Grapefruit League victory over the Astros on Saturday, having popped over the wall for an assist after Young lost his leather trying to grab Chris Carter's first-inning homer off Michael Pineda.

"We're working on pace of game in Spring Training, and Chris Young was like, 'You think I'm going to have to jump over there?'" Gardner said. "I said, 'If you're not going to, I am. Otherwise, we're going to be waiting 10 minutes for someone to go all the way around and get your glove.' So I just said, all right, I'll do it, whatever."

Once over the wall, Gardner saw the ball lying next to Young's glove and tossed that in for good measure. He said that he had wanted to throw the ball all the way to second base, but the overhang of the batter's eye made Gardner settle for a soft flip over the fence.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not seem to be amused. A replacement glove was already being sent out to center field, and Girardi was worried by the off chance that Gardner could have been injured by leaping over the fence -- which measures eight feet and five inches -- twice.

"We've seen guys hit a home run, jump up and land on the plate and break an ankle," Girardi said. "... I told him, 'This isn't Little League. Gardy thought he was in the movie 'The Sandlot' or something."

Gardner said that he did not see danger in jumping over the wall, noting that he has done it before.

"It was easier to go over than to come back. I could get a little running start," Gardner said. "I think I kind of put my foot into the wall and climbed up going over. Coming back, I had to grab on to the top of the fence and pull myself up. That fence is dirty, too, by the way -- real dirty, dirty, dusty."

Gardner also said that he never considered the embarrassing scenario in which he was able to climb out of the stadium, but couldn't get back in.

"I would've probably walked around back to the players' lot to my truck and left, maybe," Gardner said. "If I stayed back there long enough, I guess they would have sent somebody else out to play left field. I would've had a quick exit. It worked out all right."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.