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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JULY 21:  Outfielder Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees catches a fly ball against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on July 21, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)


Yanks Stay on West Coast With Left Field Empty

Such is the state of the Yankees' season so far that when the team announced last night that Brett Gardner officially wouldn't be back this season, no one really worried, at all. Gardner's been a nice piece for the Yanks — though it's worth noting that he'll be 29 years old next year and Baseball Prospectus was already advising that the Yankees move on before his speed and defense wane with age — but they've obviously been doing just fine without him. Even with the loss to the A's last night, it's tough to stress out too much about anything, really.

It is sort of amazing: Pretty much every team in baseball, with the possible exception of the Rangers and (maybe, though we remain unconvinced) the Nationals, is going to be involved in a mad, crazed dash for one of the five (five!) playoff spots in each league, and the Yankees already feel like they've made it. They not only have the biggest division lead in baseball — nine freaking games — they also have a 99.8 percent chance of making the playoffs, according to B-Pro. That's almost definitive.

(It is worth noting that a similar paragraph could have been written about the 2011 Boston Red Sox in August.)

The Yankees are going to continue using Raul Ibanez, Andrew Jones, and DeWayne Wise in left, though there are rumors they'll go after the recently released Rick Ankiel, which might be too much for our heart. But you can't really blame the Yankees for not doing much at all: This is all going too easily so far. Go ahead: Take a week off of games. They're all on the West Coast, and they start so late. You need a break. You look tired. It's the summer. Relax! All's good.

(If something goes wrong the rest of this year, this post will disappear and we will never discuss it again.)

Photo: J. Meric/Getty Images