Gardner honored as Yanks’ rep for union award

Brett Gardner has been named the Yankees’ winner of the Major League Players Association’s Heart and Hustle Award, which honors one player from each club who demonstrates a passion for baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and tradition of the game. That certainly goes for Gardner, who also won the award in 2010.

A single winner from the 30 club winners will be named at the Legends for Youth Dinner Nov. 19 in Manhattan. Gardner received his Yankees award Friday night in a pregame ceremony from bench coach Tony Pena.

In recognition of the National Hockey League’s Stadium Series, which will include two outdoor, regular season games at Yankee Stadium (Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014, 12:30 p.m., Rangers at Devils; Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, 7:30 p.m., Rangers at Islanders), ceremonial first pitches were thrown prior to Friday night’s game by Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, Islanders center John Tavares and Devils defenseman Andy Greene.

The NHL held a press conference Thursday at the Stadium to discuss the Stadium Series. Among those attending were NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr, Yankees president Randy Levine, Yankees chief operating officer Lonn Trost, Yankees executive director of non-baseball events Mark Holtzman, Devils president/chief executive officer/general manager Lou Lamoriello, Islanders general manager Garth Snow, Rangers assistant general manager Jeff Gorton, Devils players Bryce Salvador and Greene, Islanders players Tavares and Matt Moulson and Rangers players Ryan Callahan and Girardi.

In their most recent meeting against the Tigers April 7 at Detroit, the Yankees ended a six-game overall losing streak to them, including 0-4 in the 2012 American League Championship Series. The Yankees are 9-16 in all games (regular season and postseason) against Detroit since May 3, 2011. Last year, the Yankees were 6-4 against Detroit in the regular season with four games decided by one run.

The Yankees have won seven of their past nine regular-season home games against the Tigers since Aug. 17, 2010 and are 18-8 in their last 26 regular-season home games against Detroit since 2005 and 43-16 since the start of the 1998 season. They have lost just two of their past 18 home season series against Detroit since 1995. The Yankees were swept by Detroit in the 2012 ALCS, falling to 0-3 in all-time postseason series to the Tigers. The Yankees did not lead at any point in the series, which marked only the second such postseason series for the Yankees (also the 1963 World Series against the Dodgers). The Yanks lost Derek Jeter to a fractured left ankle in the 12th inning of Game 1.

Curtis Granderson, who started the game in left field and batting sixth for the Yankees, appeared in 674 career games with the Tigers from 2005-09 and batted .272 with 125 doubles, 57 triples, 102 home runs and 299 RBI in 2,579 at-bats. He is one of five players in Tigers franchise history to post double-digit totals in doubles, triples, homers and RBI in a single season, which he did in 2008 (26 doubles, 13 triples, 22 home runs, 66 RBI). The others were Bobby Veach, Ty Cobb, Charlie Gehringer and a player Detroit got in return in the three-team deal involving Granderson, Austin Jackson. . .Alex Rodriguez, who played his first game at the Stadium since coming off the disabled list, has a .337 (168-for-498) career batting average against the Tigers, his highest mark against any AL team. . .Mariano Rivera has converted 23 consecutive save opportunities against the Tigers since July 8, 1999.

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