With all the injury news surrounding Aaron Judge and Nestor Cortes at the moment, New York Yankees fans can't lose focus on Harrison Bader's recovery. The speedy outfielder went down last week with a hamstring injury in Seattle.
Bader is eligible to come off the injured list Friday, just in time for the Bombers' first series of the 2023 season against the Boston Red Sox ... but let's pump the brakes on that. Given we've heard very little -- predictable, considering how all of these injury scenarios play out for the Yankees -- it's hard to envision that happening.
On Tuesday, the Yankees provided an update on Bader, which certainly was positive, but indicated that he'll need more time on the shelf and will be "evaluated" at the 10-day mark of his injury.
Bader's only been building up with baseball activities, so it seems we're still at least week away from anything encouraging. Bader also told reporters that coming off the IL Friday would "be a stretch" and that he's taking things as they come in an effort to avoid any setbacks, since hamstring issues can famously be nagging.
Maybe next weekend in Boston? Maybe. Wouldn't be surprised if we're looking at two weekends from now, though. The initial diagnosis was "a few weeks," per manager Aaron Boone back on May 30, so that probably means three weeks in Yankees speak.
What Harrison Bader's timetable for return to the Yankees?
Annnndd the Yankees are back to their late April/early May situation when they were without Judge and Bader ... but at least this time they have Giancarlo Stanton, a more capable Jake Bauers, and a better-swinging version of Willie Calhoun. Things could always be worse.
Fans can't say this hasn't been frustrating, though. Despite Jordan Montgomery losing his last 10 (!!!) decisions (which is more indicative of the Cardinals' struggles as a whole), Bader's only seen the field for 40 games with the Bombers since being acquired at the beginning of last August. His impact has been considerable, but spurts of it won't be good enough if this team wants to win a World Series.
Expect Bader to be out another couple of weeks, just to temper expectations. The Yankees have navigated their injury issues incredibly well so far, and their 7.5-game deficit to the Rays in the division fails to tell the whole story. Tampa Bay is 27-6 at home. Nothing the Yankees can do about that.
But Bader's return can't come soon enough because of how he alters the dynamic both on the field and in the clubhouse. Fingers crossed for the next round of updates on the 29-year-old.