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09/25/12 7:50 PM ET

Yankees activate Gardner for situational role

MINNEAPOLIS -- Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and right-handed reliever David Aardsma were activated from the disabled list prior to Tuesday's game against the Twins.

Gardner hasn't played since April 17 and is returning from arthroscopic surgery performed on his right elbow on July 24. The nature of the injury means Gardner will be used only situationally for the rest of the season.

"I'm not sure about that," Gardner said when asked about the possibility of being an everyday player. "With the guys that we have here -- the guys that have been playing -- my goal is just to try and get healthy. That's the main thing. It isn't trying to play every day or anything like that.

"Any kind of role they need to use me in -- pinch-run or play defense or hit a guy over or anything like that -- I'll be ready for it."

Gardner didn't take batting practice before Tuesday's game and likely won't do so until Thursday in Toronto. The speedy outfielder said he'd need "a couple days of BP" before he would be ready to hit in a game, though manager Joe Girardi shied away from saying Gardner would bat at all this season. He will likely be used only as a pinch-runner or defensive substitute.

Aardsma -- who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in July 2011 -- hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2010. Girardi wasn't yet certain of how he planned to work the right-hander into the Yankees' bullpen mix.

"It's hard to say," Girardi said. "We're going to have to pick a spot maybe to get him in there. He hasn't pitched in the big leagues in a long time, so we'll have to be careful where we use him."

Meanwhile, the Yankees designated left-hander Justin Thomas and outfielder Steve Pearce for assignment.

Girardi doesn't expect Cano's struggles to linger

MINNEAPOLIS -- Robinson Cano isn't having the best month.

The Yankees' second baseman was hitting .224 through 22 games in September entering Tuesday's contest against the Twins. That average is Cano's lowest in a single month this season and his lowest for a regular-season month (excluding October) since he hit .151 in April 2008.

Cano's cold September has dropped his average from .304 to .293.

"He's not making the solidest contact on a consistent basis right now," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "Could it be that he's playing a lot of games? Sure. Could it be that our schedule's been kind of rough? Sure. But it's that time of year -- you have to fight through some things."

Cano got a half-day of rest on Tuesday, serving as the designated hitter and batting cleanup against Minnesota. He had started 142 of New York's 153 games at second base, starting another eight as the DH.

"He's played a lot, so it's just kind of getting him a day off his legs a little bit -- try to refresh him a little bit," Girardi said. "I don't know how much you can refresh a guy at this time of year, though."

Girardi also said he isn't worried about Cano's recent slump.

"You just know how good of a hitter he is and that he's more than likely to come out of it," Girardi said. "It'd be great for it to happen soon, but guys go through it. They go through their struggles."

Bombers bits

• Nick Swisher entered Tuesday's game having homered in three of his past five games. He had also hit .385 with nine RBIs over his last seven games.

• Curtis Granderson's 105 home runs since joining the Yankees in 2010 are the fourth most in baseball over that span. He trails Jose Bautista (124), Miguel Cabrera (110) and Albert Pujols (109).

• Derek Jeter's 18-game hitting streak coming into Tuesday's game was the fourth-longest of his career.

• Monday marked the first time in franchise history a Yankees starting pitcher 40 years of age or older recorded a win while a teammate -- also 40 or older -- hit a home run, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Andy Pettitte recorded his fifth win of the season, and Raul Ibanez connected for homer No. 18.

Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.