The New York Yankees were expecting big things from Harrison Bader when they acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals for Jordan Montgomery at the MLB trade deadline last season. Absent any other meaningful offensive additions, Bader seemed locked into a big role for 2023 as New York’s center fielder (and potentially leadoff hitter).
But alas, Bader’s injury history caught up with him again in Spring Training, as an oblique injury sidelined him almost immediately after ramping up baseball activities. If Bader can get back healthy, he carries big value as an elite defender who could also make a run at a 20/20 season at the plate, but it remains to be seen when that might be. The Yankees placed him on the injured list to start the year with the hope that he could be back in six to eight weeks.
Harrison Bader injury update
April 17 update — Bader has been working out in the Bronx is nearly ready for a (relatively long) rehab assignment:
Harrison Bader Injury Update:— Mike Daddino (@mike_daddino) April 17, 2023
He's scheduled to workout again this week, and will begin a minor-league rehab assignment if all goes well.
"It's right around the corner, which is very exciting," Bader said.
Aaron Boone told us it will be a "relatively long" rehab stint. pic.twitter.com/y0lwcQ9R0v
Now’s the time to stash the outfielder if he’s still available — when he’s healthy, there’s real 20/20 upside here and the Yankees will give him all the at-bats he can handle.
April 10 update — Aaron Boone told reporters this weekend that he’s hopeful Bader could progress well enough to go out on a rehab assignment at some point in the next week or so.
Aaron Boone's hope is that Harrison Bader can get into some rehab games in the next week to 10 days. #Yankees— Gary Phillips (@GaryHPhillips) April 8, 2023
April 6 update — After taking swings in a pool last week, Bader has graduated to dry swings, per Max Goodman of the Newark Star-Ledger.
Harrison Bader took 25 dry swings today, Aaron Boone says.— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) April 3, 2023
“He was letting it rip and felt great.”
Bader continues to progress from his oblique strain and will eventually get into rehab games.
The initial six-week timeline would put him on track for a rehab assignment at some point in mid-April with an eye towards returning to the Yankees by the end of the month, and it looks like that could still be the plan. Obliques are notoriously tricky injuries to get over though, and Bader’s track record doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence.
Oswaldo Cabrera figures to be the biggest beneficiary of Bader’s absence, unless Aaron Boone wants to go back to the Aaron Hicks well one more time (please stop yelling at us, Yankees fans).