Yankees’ star outfielder nearing return from hamstring injury

harrison bader, yankees
May 29, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader (22) runs towards first base after hitting a single against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are acutely feeling the absence of several key outfielders, with Aaron Judge and Harrison Bader currently on the injury list.

Judge’s loss is a severe hit to their offensive output, while Bader had been displaying exceptional form since his return from a lat injury sustained during spring training.

Though a precise timetable for Judge’s return remains undefined, Bader is making progress in his recovery, expecting to return within the next few weeks.

The Yankees have felt the absence of Harrison Bader:

The 29-year-old left the team with a .267 batting average and a .295 OBP, along with six homers, 19 RBIs, and six stolen bases. He was on track to set personal bests in home runs and stolen bases, boasting a career-high 119 wRC+.

“I don’t want to waste any time,” Bader said Friday. “ If I feel good and I feel confident, I want to go out there and help this team win. I know when I get to that place, I’ll be in a good spot where I can help this team win, which is all that matters.

Bader is even eager to forego a potential rehab assignment, wishing to rejoin the team without any delay.

“I’m not helping anybody if I’m on a rehab assignment.”

Bader indicated that he is nearing a possible return, a development the Yankees are eagerly awaiting given the current state of their outfield.

“I would love to play tonight,” he said. “I don’t have a timetable. It’s really just about feeling good and getting around the corner [where] I can help this team win. I feel like I’m right there.”

On the defensive end, the veteran outfielder has been exceptional. Over 205.1 innings, he has recorded four defensive runs saved and five outs above average, setting him on track for career bests.

Though Bader isn’t particularly known for his offensive capabilities, he offers immense value as an elite defensive outfielder, courtesy of his athleticism and timely contributions. Considering his performance during last year’s postseason for the Yankees, his return to the lineup is crucial for the team’s success.

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