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When will Harrison Bader return to the Yankees lineup this season?

We’ve got the latest updates for Harrison Bader and when he’ll return in 2023.

Harrison Bader of the New York Yankees looks on during batting practice prior to a Grapefruit League Spring Training game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field on March 06, 2023 in Tampa, Florida.  Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

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:

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.

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.

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).