Harrison Bader injury: Yankees midfielder suffers from a left oblique strain that is expected to be out for six weeks

The New York Yankees have lost another key player to a spring training injury. Manager Aaron Boone announced on Friday that midfielder Harrison Bader has a left oblique strain. per die New York Postand on Saturday said Boone Bader is expected to be out for around six weeks. If there are no setbacks or a changed schedule, that means Bader should return sometime in late April or early May. The Yankees open their regular season schedule March 30 at home against the Giants.

“He’s one of the greatest midfield defenders in the game,” Boone said Friday (per NJ.com). “Obviously he brings an athleticism to the offense. We all saw what he did with the racquet in the postseason as well. He’s a big part of our team, big part of the team this year to take on the long term. We are also convinced of that.”

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New York is also without valuable free agent Carlos Rodón at the start of the regular season. He has a forearm strain. Frankie Montas (shoulder surgery), Tommy Kahnle (biceps tendonitis) and Lou Trivino (elbow sprain) are also injured. Minor league catchers Josh Breaux (elbows), Ben Rortvedt (aneurysm) and Austin Wells (ribs) were also shut down that spring.

Bader, 28, has played 367 out of a possible 546 regular-season games since 2019, or 67%. His list of injuries includes a thigh strain, forearm strains, a fractured rib, plantar fasciitis and now a left oblique strain. Bader was on the injured list with plantar fasciitis when the Yankees acquired him from the St. Louis Cardinals at the close of trade last summer.

With Bader on the IL, the Yankees could push Aaron Judge back into midfield, where he played 78 games last season. The Yankees could also turn to perennial favorite Estevan Florial. Who is out of minor league options?, or Rafael Ortega, who was not invited from the list, as Fill-In-Center-Fielders. Aaron Hicks and utility man Oswaldo Cabrera can also play centers if needed.

Jurickson Profar remains unsigned and is by far the best free agent available. If Bader is out long-term — even minor oblique injuries can take weeks to heal — the Yankees could look to bring in Profar, who is now a full-time left fielder. You would then have to place Hiccups in the middle or to the right for the pieces to fit.

Due to the foot injury, Bader only played 14 regular-season games with the Yankees after the trade, posting a .217/.245/.283 with no homers. However, he had a monster postseason, hitting five homers in the team’s nine games. Bader will be a free agent after the season and will be one of the better players in a thin market.

The Yankees went 99-63 and won the AL East in 2022, despite going 38-40 in their last 78 games as everyone but Judge struggled to generate offense. New York was swept by the Houston Astros in the ALCS.

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