Gardner sits, but feels better than expected

Yanks left fielder has bruised jaw, strained neck from collision with Weeks

Gardner sits, but feels better than expected

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner gave in to his curiosity while nursing his bruised jaw and strained neck, viewing a few replays of the violent collision with the Rays' Rickie Weeks Jr. at first base in the Yankees' 8-4 victory Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

"I'm a little banged up, a little sore, but I'm pleased that it's not any worse and thankful that I escaped serious injury," Gardner said. "It was a pretty good collision. He's not really the softest guy to collide with; I didn't pick the right guy to run into."

Gardner gets worst of collision with Weeks

While Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he wanted to be cautious and gave Gardner the day off in Thursday's series finale against Tampa Bay, Gardner said that he was pleasantly surprised by how he felt upon reporting to the stadium and said that he should be available to play.

"He is definitely better than we really expected," Girardi said.

Gardner passed the league-mandated concussion protocol testing after the crash, which came on a tapper back to pitcher Xavier Cedeno. The Rays' infield was drawn in, and Cedeno first looked to second base before making a poor throw that scooted by Weeks, a novice first baseman playing just his third big league game at the position.

The Yankees took note of Gardner's presence of mind to scramble back and slap a hand on first base.

"I knew the ball was loose, so I knew I needed to get back to the base," Gardner said. "I was still thinking pretty clearly, but the way that we collided, he knocked the breath out of me. I knew I needed to get back to the base, but there was nothing I really could do except lay there once I got back to it."

Bombers bits

Jordan Montgomery received a deluge of text messages and voicemail messages following his Major League debut Wednesday, in which he allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings, taking a no-decision.

The 24-year-old left-hander said that he gave the game ball and the lineup card to his parents, who brought them home to South Carolina. He said that he hopes to go deeper into the game next time, and is thrilled to be receiving another turn in the rotation.

"It's huge," said Montgomery, rated the Yanks' No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline.com. "You try and get to the big leagues and then you try to stay there. I did the first part and now I'm just trying to stick."

Montgomery and catcher Kyle Higashioka were the first Yankees battery to each make their first Major League start in the same game since Jorge De Paula and Michel Hernandez, who did it Sept. 26, 2003, in the second game of a doubleheader against the Orioles.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.