N.Y. returns Christian to minors after four starts in Yanks' outfield

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Southeast Missouri State product Justin Christian's first stint in the major leagues was brief.

Christian, called up by the New York Yankees from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last Tuesday, was optioned back to that Class AAA team Monday.

Christian was sent back down in order for the Yankees to call up fellow outfielder Brett Gardner from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

In his major league debut last Tuesday night, Christian went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in as the Yankees' starting left fielder against the Pirates.

Christian started three more games since then, but he had just one more hit in 11 at-bats. His average was .200 (3-for-15) before being sent down.

The 28-year-old Christian was batting .309 with four homers, 14 doubles, 39 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 20 attempts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before his promotion.

Christian played just one season at Southeast, in 2003, after transferring from Auburn.

Playing second base for Southeast, he batted .376 with 13 home runs, 12 doubles, 48 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He was the Ohio Valley Conference rookie of the year and made two All-American teams.

Christian started his pro career with the independent River City Rascals in 2003. He also began 2004 there before the Yankees organization picked him up.

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