New York Yankees Brett Gardner stretches during a spring training baseball workout Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara
February 25, 2016

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner will take a slow approach at spring training because of a lingering wrist injury.

General manager Brian Cashman said Thursday that Gardner bruised his left wrist running into the wall in last year's AL wild-card game against Houston.

''It's gotten mostly better, but bone bruises can stay for a while so we're just going to stagger him out,'' Cashman said. ''I know he feels good, but we're just going to take it slow because we can. The season is not upon us tomorrow. Just part of the safe route. Spring training is long enough.''

Gardner took part in defensive drills Thursday and advanced from dry swings over the past few weeks to hitting 25 balls apiece off a tee and soft toss. He will take a day off swinging the bat Friday

Gardner said his concern level is low and hopes to take on-field batting practice within the next couple weeks.

''I feel lot better today than where I was at a month ago,'' Gardner said. ''I was a lot more concerned than I am now. I'm excited about the way I felt today. I'm not up to speed hitting but everything is a go.''

Gardner suffered a bruised right wrist last year after getting hit by pitch in an April game against Baltimore.

Also Thursday, closer Aroldis Chapman missed his second workout this week. He had an excused absence to tend to a family matter.

Chapman is scheduled to throw off a mound Friday.

TANAKA TIME

Masahiro Tanaka, who had a procedure in October to remove a bone spur on his throwing elbow, threw 35 pitches broken into two segments during his fourth mound session.

It's possible the right-hander could throw batting practice early next week.

''So far, so good,'' Cashman said. ''No issues. No complaints.''

The Yankees expect Tanaka to be ready for his first regular-season start, barring any setbacks.

NOTES

Ivan Nova threw batting practice for the first time. ... CC Sabathia is listed for a mound session Friday. ... Guest instructor Hideki Matsui arrived at camp.

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