NYY@BAL: Gardner exits game with an oblique strain

BOSTON -- The Yankees are preparing to play through the remainder of the regular season without Brett Gardner, who suffered a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique on a checked swing during Thursday's 6-5 win over the Orioles.

Gardner had an MRI performed on Friday in New York that revealed the strain. Losing the 30-year-old, who performed well as the club's leadoff hitter and everyday center fielder, will be a tough blow as the Yankees attempt to chase a playoff spot.

"It's a big loss," manager Joe Girardi said. "We've had to overcome a lot over the course of this year and we're going to have to continue to do that. People are going to have to step up in his absence."

Girardi said that it is possible that Gardner could return first as a pinch-runner, then as a full player, if the oblique strain heals quickly. However, Girardi also acknowledged that it is possible Gardner has played his last game of the regular season.

Gardner had been one of the Yankees' few constants in an injury-riddled season, batting .273 in 145 games while setting career highs with 147 hits, 33 doubles and eight home runs.

"He's been really good for us -- offensively, defensively, getting us off to quick starts," Girardi said. "And he's going to be out a while."

Curtis Granderson was in the lineup batting leadoff and playing center field on Friday as the Yankees opened a three-game weekend series with the Red Sox.

"It always helps when you have players who can fill in," Girardi said. "But [Gardner is] an element that, we talked about last year how we missed that element a lot. And guys are going to have to step up. There's no doubt about it."

Sore hamstring to keep A-Rod from playing third base

NYY@BAL: A-Rod smashes a solo shot to even the score

BOSTON -- Alex Rodriguez's speed had already moved into the slow lane following two hip surgeries, but a tight left hamstring now has him putting the caution flashers on.

Rodriguez did not move well on the basepaths in the seventh inning of Friday's 8-4 Yankees loss to the Red Sox, and Rodriguez said that he will be unable to play third base until at least next week because of concern that he will further injure the leg.

"I'm just trying to go where it doesn't blow out. That's pretty much it," said Rodriguez, who has been the Yankees' designated hitter in three straight games.

Rodriguez said that he was feeling some improvement in the hamstring, which he said knotted up on Tuesday in Baltimore, but manager Joe Girardi noticed Rodriguez laboring as he moved to third base on Robinson Cano's two-run double in the seventh.

Girardi had planned to play Rodriguez at third base on Saturday, but he said that his mind had changed after watching Rodriguez run the bases. Rodriguez said that he did not think he could play third base until at least Tuesday in Toronto.

"I'm not sure. I'm coming in every day and doing treatment with [head athletic trainer] Stevie [Donohue]," Rodriguez said. "Hopefully sooner rather than later. But I know that Monday day off will be key for me and hopefully maybe Tuesday."

Girardi said that he believes Rodriguez, who was 0-for-3 with a walk on Friday, will still be available as a DH on Saturday.

"I'm not sure what I'll have [Saturday]," Girardi said. "I'll have to check with him. It's a concern of mine."

Granderson prepared to take over center field duties

NYY@TB: Granderson makes catch in the bullpen area

BOSTON -- Curtis Granderson knew it was not good news when he was told to grab his glove and head to center field, replacing Brett Gardner for the bottom of the first inning on Thursday.

Now that an MRI has confirmed that Gardner has a Grade 1 strain of his left oblique and may miss the remainder of the regular season, Granderson said that he is prepared to fill in as the Yankees' everyday center fielder, as well as in the leadoff spot if needed.

"Anytime you lose anybody, it's always a tough loss, no matter who it happens to be in this organization," Granderson said. "You don't want to see anybody get hurt. Gardy has been playing well for us all season long, and he's done some amazing things both offensively and defensively.

"To have him go down, the way he is and to not be sure exactly when he might come back, that's definitely a tough thing to handle. At the same time, we've got to continue to move on."

Granderson has been limited to just 46 games himself entering play on Friday, suffering a fractured right wrist in his first Spring Training game and then breaking his left hand in May, both on hit-by-pitches.

Granderson has bounced around the lineup, hitting in all of the first seven slots, and he has also played all three outfield positions. Granderson said that moving around to a variety of roles has not bothered him, because he is just happy to be playing.

"It's fun. This is great," Granderson said. "We're in the thick of things, ready to move forward and have a chance to get to the playoffs. It has been fun, it's been unscripted to a tee. Anything that you could think of happening has happened, and I'm sure there's a lot more that will happen that is unpredictable. That makes it fun."

Bombers bits

• Catcher Austin Romine (concussion) took some swings on Friday and said that he is continuing to feel better. Romine took an ImPACT test on Thursday, and Girardi said that although it went well, it is possible Romine won't be available to play this weekend.

• Left-hander Boone Logan (left elbow tightness) told Girardi that he was feeling better, and Girardi said that he is "hoping that he turned the corner." Logan shut down a throwing session on Thursday in Baltimore after just five tosses due to discomfort.

• On this date in 2011, Mariano Rivera recorded his 600th career save in a victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field. The final out was recorded when catcher Russell Martin threw out Ichiro Suzuki attempting to steal second base.