Brett Gardner says he has learned his lesson and won’t be firing any batting helmets around anymore, but oh my, it was funny when he did that on Saturday night.

In case you missed it, Gardner, who was in a slump, hit a long drive against Cleveland, only to have it caught on a great dive by Jordan Luplow in right field.

Gardner returned to the Yankee dugout and he was steaming. He took off his helmet and fired it against the wall. It bounced back at great speed and caught him right in the mouth. He walked away with a bloody lower lip that required six stitches.

His teammates tried to look away so they would not break out laughing at his actions. Gardner is supposed to be one of the veteran leaders on the club, setting a good example for the younger players.

But in this instance, all he did was show them that batting helmets are very durable and they are not the best choice of objects to use when showing how angry you are.

*  *  *

Pudgy but determined Andy Ruiz pulled off a big upset recently by winning the heavyweight boxing championship over England’s Anthony Joshua.

Ruiz may weight 270 pounds, but he has very quick hands and he got to Joshua and floored him more than once.

ESPN reporter and analyst Stephen A. Smith went on a rant saying that Joshua gave up and that “Butterbean” Ruiz did not deserve to be champion. It was a stupid and uncalled statement for Smith to make, but he does that sort of thing on a regular basis.

If you saw the fight, you saw that Ruiz was continually able to get inside of the defense of Joshua, even though the former champion had a much longer reach.

Ruiz is a bull. He keeps coming forward and even though he badly needs to get into better shape, he is going to be a problem for anyone because he combines strength and quick hands.

Perhaps Joshua did not take Ruiz seriously enough going into the bout, but he was very complimentary afterward and admitted that he did not have any real answers except that Ruiz beat him fair and square.

Joshua showed a lot of class in defeat, while Stephen A. Smith, as is quite often the case, showed no class at all.

*  *  *

Injuries in pro sports are becoming more and more of a problem. Kevin Durant chooses to sit out in the NBA finals because he hurt a calf muscle.

Tape it up Kevin and go play on it. You have six months to let it heal.

The Yankees have had 17 or 18 guys on the injured list this season and certainly some of them needed to be there. But a wrist injury or a twisted ankle or an uncomfortable feeling in the throwing arm should not make a player miss a lot of time.

First baseman Mitch Moreland of the Red Sox was having a pretty good year until he hurt a hamstring and was deemed disabled.

When he returned to the lineup, he played five whole innings before he felt a “twinge” in a quad muscle, so he was quickly returned to the IL (injured list).

J.D. Martinez has more back spasms than most 60 years olds, and as soon as he feels it, he is immediately deemed unable to play. Of course he still gets paid for not playing.

I sometimes wonder how many of these athletes would be so quick to pull themselves from the lineup if they were like many people in the regular work force, who get docked their pay if they don’t show up to do their job.

They might put in a bit more effort to play if it were costing them part of their pay.

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