Gardner took batting practice before New York's series opener at Tampa Bay and said he hoped to start Saturday night's game.
Gardner was hit by a pitch Monday and left the game midway through New York's win over Baltimore. He had an MRI on Thursday, and the Yankees announced he sustained a bruise.
Right-hander Ivan Nova, coming back from right elbow ligament replacement surgery a year ago, threw 20 pitches in his second batting practice session at the Yankees' minor league complex in nearby Tampa.
"I'm getting closer," Nova said. "Feels awesome."
On target to return to the Yankees in June, Nova expects to throw batting practice twice next week before possibly advancing to simulated games.
Injured fifth starter Chris Capuano, on the disabled with a strained right quadriceps, will throw batting practice for the second time Sunday. Capuano could return in a month.