I've held my tongue on the Brett Gardner phenomenon, but I'm going to vent a little. I don't think he should be our center fielder. At least not yet, not everyday. He just doesn't hit enough. I don't care that he steals bases, he's not in the top of the order, and he's usually walking back to the dugout after an at-bat, not heading to first. He's good in the field, but I don't care. Our outfield defense has never been a real issue. Not saying that late Bernie Williams and Damon were everything we could ask for defensively, but I don't recall losing too many games because of a lack of range or a weak arm in center.
That being said, Gardner is the every day center fielder. But I propose the following rule: if Molina is in the game, Melky is in center and Gardner is a pinch runner. As much as I love to watch three automatic outs in a row (Molina, Ransom, Gardner), I'd rather have a guy in the bottom of that line up who's got some chance of getting on base or at least getting one extra base hit in the game. I know Gardner outplayed Melky in spring training, but I could hit .300 in spring training. Melky has more major league experience and at some point, when it counts, that's going to make a difference. I know the game is getting younger and faster, but the Rays weren't good just because they were fast, they also hit. We're still in the American League East, and until A-Rod gets back, you can't have three guys in the bottom of the line up who can't hit (especially when Matsui hasn't warmed up yet). So if Molina is in, Gardner is out.