Yankees bring Harrison Bader back ahead of schedule to spark depressing roster

Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees
Cleveland Guardians v New York Yankees / Elsa/GettyImages

Wow! Despite working towards an optimistic target date of returning during the weekend series against the Rays, Harrison Bader will be BACK in a Yankees uniform for Tuesday's contest at home against the Guardians.

It's a much-needed shot in the arm for the Yankees, who will now use Bader to play center, bat eighth, close out tight games, and make managerial decisions in the heat of the moment.

Oh, wait, no. Bader's just one man. One man with a lingering oblique issue who began a rehab assignment last Friday that was supposed to extend between 10 days and two weeks, in order to mimic spring training and get him accustomed to playing nine-inning back-to-backs.

But, after Boone bungled Monday's contest and somehow wrecked 8.1 two-hit innings from Domingo Germán in the blink of an eye, the team decided that caution was no longer the driving factor in their decision-making, and that 11 days was more than enough (he went 3-for-25 in his ramp up, so he'll fit right in).

Bader returns on Tuesday night, with Franchy Cordero heading back down to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room.

Yankees promote Harrison Bader, demote Franchy Cordero

Aaron Hicks stays, even after ending Monday night's game with a swing straight out of Old-Timers' Day. What a surprise.

While Bader won't be able to bandage over all of this team's wounds, he endeared himself to fans last fall by being a breath of fresh air defensively, as well as a surprising spark plug with the bat. He did the simple things. Split between the Cardinals and Yankees, he was a .304 hitter with RISP (with an elevated .791 OPS) in 2022. He might not mimic his playoff rampage, featuring three homers against Cleveland and a pair against Houston, but the Yankees are unequivocally a better team with him than without him.

Though the season got off to an inauspicious start, this is Bader's contract year, and he's out to prove that he deserves a long-term pact (three years work?) with his childhood team, the Yankees. The Bronxville native will certainly help keep New York in the hunt, and we're not ungrateful for his return. You just have to wonder if the team opted for the premature activation to change the narrative after several non-Bader-related parts of the roster provided a loss for the ages Monday night.