Outfielder Brett Gardner's long-term future with the New York Yankees seemed in doubt a couple of months ago with when the club signed Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury as a free agent.
But that future came into clear focus Sunday, when the Yankees announced they had signed Gardner, a former College of Charleston baseball standout, to a four-year contract extension worth a reported $52 million.
The deal, which includes a club option for a fifth year, is likely to keep Gardner with the Yankees through 2018 and perhaps beyond.
"It's a demonstration from our end," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told reporters. "We don't typically do this, but it shows the level of confidence, belief and trust in the type of person and player he is, and we're excited to know he's going to be part of this thing going forward."
Gardner, a Holly Hill native, said he doesn't want to play anywhere else.
"There's no better place to play baseball than in New York," he said. "I've never been anywhere else. I got drafted here almost nine years ago, and I love it here. I love everybody in the organization, the coaching staff and all my teammates, and this is where I want to be."