TAMPA – With the feeling that the Astros got more than enough heat in the last month, Brett Gardner left with his off-speed gear on Tuesday.
Senior Yankee held back in his first comments on the illegal sign theft scandal that rocked baseball – while making his feelings clear.
"Yes, without going too far, looking back, it's frustrating to know that we may not have been on a balanced pitch," said Gardner at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Tuesday after the Yankees' first full-training session.
The midfielder referred to the 2017 American League Championship Series when the Yankees lost to the Astros in seven games without a home advantage. The home team won every competition. Rob Manfred's report on the Astros claimed that they cheated 17 during postseason.
"I'm tired of hearing about it and talking about it and being asked to be honest," Gardner said of the Astros affair. "You have a job to do and this is the first time that I'm in front of you. I think the more we talk about it, the more it goes on. It's just bad for the game.
"In any case, I'm disappointed and frustrated with what happened, but I'm excited about the team we have and the work we have done this season and the win against any team we play." Especially the boys, the astros. You kicked us out of the postseason two of the past three years. Hopefully we are the last team this year. That is the ultimate goal every year. "
When asked if he was surprised that so many of his teammates spoke passionately against the Astros, Gardner said, "Listen, everyone has the right to have their say, what they want to say, or how he wants to. But at the end of the day I think what happened – I don't know exactly what happened, I have an idea – it has affected many things and many people in many different ways, not just with the Astros but also with other teams.
"Obviously there are a lot of people out there who weren't happy about it. I'm one of them. But the more we stand here and talk about it, the longer it takes. I just don't think it's good for the game. "
The 36-year-old, who had signed with the Yankees again in December to join the club for a 12th season, concluded: "It's a sad time for the baseball game, to be honest, and for our fans, especially for young fans. Hopefully we can try to get past not just the Astros, but all of baseball, and hopefully it will make the game better somehow. "
Gardner declined to comment on the crazy fan, against whom he had reportedly issued an injunction.