Yankees Reinforcements: Star outfielder returns, $162M pitcher starts rehab assignment

harrison bader, yankees
May 28, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader (22) reacts to hitting a home run as he rounds the bases against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Yankees prepare for their Tuesday night showdown against the Seattle Mariners, they’ve received some encouraging news.

Harrison Bader Makes a Comeback

The team has announced the return of Harrison Bader, who suffered a hamstring injury several weeks ago. Before his injury, Bader left the team hitting .267 with a .295 OBP, boasting six homers and 19 RBIs across 26 games. He had two successful rehab assignments before making his much-anticipated comeback.

Despite missing significant playing time this season, Bader is still on track to set a career record in home runs and exhibit some of his best defensive metrics since he joined the MLB in 2017. He currently boasts a career-best 118 wRC+, with a .511 slugging percentage, a career-low 13.7% strikeout rate, and a 3.2% walk rate.

On the defensive front, Bader has already tallied four defensive runs saved and five outs above average. This impressive pace unquestionably highlights his exceptional skills as a centerfielder. Bader will hit sixth against the Mariners on Tuesday, adding much-needed firepower to the bottom half of the batting order.

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Carlos Rodon’s Rehab Assignment

In another positive development, the Yankees announced that Carlos Rodon, their $162 million free-agent signing, would start a rehab assignment with Double-A Somerset on Tuesday. Rodon has been managing a chronic back injury diagnosed this offseason.

After recovering from a forearm strain, the Yankees are hopeful that Rodon’s six-year deal won’t turn out to be a misstep. Rodon has had two consecutive dominant seasons, pitching a career-high 178 innings last year with a 2.88 ERA, 12 strikeouts per nine, a 75.1% left-on-base rate, and a 34.1% ground ball rate.

Rodon is a top-notch pitcher at his best, having posted even better metrics than Gerrit Cole in recent seasons. This dynamic duo at the top of the rotation could give the Yankees one of the best starting pitching contributions in the game.

Looking Ahead: Pitching and Offense

If Nestor Cort├ęs can reclaim his 2022 form and Luis Severino can bounce back after a challenging return, the Yankees should have a formidable pitching lineup. However, their offense has been the primary concern over the past few months.

This is an unfolding situation, so stay tuned for further updates as the Yankees gear up for their upcoming battle against the Mariners.