From The Times and Democrat -
Since his graduation from Holly Hill Academy in 2001, the course of Brett Gardner’s baseball career has taken a meteoric rise.
Tonight, at halftime of the HHA girls’ home game against Colleton Prep, Gardner’s achievements will be recognized in a ceremony in which he will become the school’s first male athlete to have his jersey retired.
“It is definitely such a great honor that they think that much of me to do that,” Gardner said. “When I was in school there I never imagined something like this would be happening.”
Gardner has been invited to spring training with the Yankees this year. He said he is excited about the opportunity, but expects that he will begin the 2007 season back in the minors.
“The past couple of years have just kind of flown by,” said Gardner. “I am really blessed to be in such a good position. I am really looking forward to going to spring training, playing in front of some important people, and showing them what I can bring to the table.
“It’s also a good chance for me to be around some older guys,” he added. “I am sure it is going to be a little more fast-paced, but it is a good opportunity for me, and it is a good learning experience.”
Gardner will head to Tampa, the site of the Yankees’ spring training complex, next weekend.
“I’m heading down there to work out for about three weeks,” he said. “We get started with spring training around Feb. 18, and probably around the first week of April I am going to be assigned to whatever team I will be playing on.”
If something should happen to Damon, Abreu, Matsui or Cabrera, right now, the Yankees next options in the outfield are guys like Kevin Reese, Bronson Sardinha, and Kevin Thompson. So, with a strong spring, and if he can do well in Triple-A, Gardner can put himself in a position to be the next outfielder to join the Yankees should something happen to the big four on the big league club now.
I’m willing to bet that he takes advantage of this great opportunity.