On March 10, New York Yankees center fielder and 2022 playoff star Harrison Bader was diagnosed with a left oblique strain. He sustained the injury during a spring training game and was given a six-week recovery timetable before returning to the active roster.
The six weeks extended slightly, but the dynamic outfielder is now prepared to make his highly anticipated return.
Yankees insider Bryan Hoch reported that Bader could be activated for the series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, commencing on Friday.
The Yankees will face the Cleveland Guardians from Monday to Wednesday, providing Bader with time to complete his rehab assignment in Scranton and rejoin the major league team.
His rehab stint was not particularly fruitful, but oblique injuries can be challenging to manage and recover from.
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Bader is a significant upgrade for the Yankees:
Given the alternatives they have been deploying in the outfield, the Yankees are likely willing to let Bader regain his rhythm in the major leagues. With Giancarlo Stanton sidelined due to injury and half the team underperforming—including fellow outfielders Aaron Hicks, Oswaldo Cabrera, Franchy Cordero, Willie Calhoun, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa—Bader’s return offers a much-needed infusion of talent.
While Bader’s offensive potential may not be incredibly exciting, he has demonstrated in the past that he can be a slightly above-average hitter with some stealthy power and speed, as well as elite defense in center field. This skill set should make him considerably better than most of the players mentioned in this article.
Bader is also capable of suddenly becoming red-hot, as was the case in last year’s playoffs. With the Yankees, he achieved a 252 wRC+ and hit five home runs in nine postseason games.
As long as the Yankees continue to regain their health, they should be able to gradually recover from their current predicament.