Gardner, Prado out of lineup nursing injuries

Gardner, Prado out of lineup nursing injuries

NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner and Martin Prado, two of the Yankees' most productive hitters in recent weeks, were out of the starting lineup on Tuesday, and there is no definitive timetable for their return.

Gardner missed his third straight game with a lower abdominal injury and is scheduled to be examined by a team physician, having already had an MRI performed. Prado is being slowed by a strained left hamstring that the Yankees fear he could aggravate by playing.

"It's definitely different [without Gardner and Prado], but I've always said it's an opportunity for someone to step up," manager Joe Girardi said. "They're going to have to."

Prado played in the last two games against the Royals, contributing three hits on Saturday before going hitless on Sunday. Girardi said that there was no increase in Prado's discomfort.

"There's concern about him playing on that, where he could really make it worse in his hamstring to where it becomes a serious issue," Girardi said. "It's still bothering him. Even though I told him to guard it -- and he did a good job -- there's concern."

Their absences are notable with the Yankees clawing for offense, having been shut out three times in the last eight games entering play Tuesday. Prado was batting .380 (27-for-71) over his last 18 games, while Gardner had seven hits in his last 20 at-bats (.350).

As a result, Chris Young made his first Yankees start in left field while Stephen Drew manned second base. Ichiro Suzuki got the nod in right field.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for 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.