Brett Gardner
Dan Hamilton | USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Volpe will wear No. 11 when he takes the field for the Yankees on Opening Day. But only after running it by the last man to wear it.

Yet another reason for Bombers fans to love the rookie shortstop: He, by all accounts, has now done more to acknowledge and respect Gardner’s contributions than the entire Yankees organization.

Volpe did not have to make the call. But he did. Which says a lot about him. And begs the question: Did manager Aaron Boone ever get around to making his call?

Look, time marches on. Gardner was a beloved and productive Yankee. But it was likely time to move on. He was never going to have his number retired. He is likely just short of the bar to clear for a plaque in Monument Park. And, to be frank, his exit would have never become such a big deal if not for the incredible incompetence of Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks last season.

But it has. And the Yankees have seem completely flat-footed in how to respond. Obviously they cannot get Gardner to announce his retirement or show up to Yankee Stadium to throw out the first pitch if he is not interested. But there has to be something they could do to bring some closure to this before Gardner can transition into drawing one of the biggest pops every year at Old Timer’s Day. And after failing to do that for a year, the kid may have done it for them.

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James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.