Yankees outfielder Harrison Bader departed yesterday’s game with right hamstring tightness and it seems he’s unlikely to make a quick return. Manager Aaron Boone tells Talkin’ Yanks that Bader will miss at least a few games and could even require a trip to the injured list.
The club can take a couple of days to decide since IL stints can be backdated by three days, provided that the player hasn’t participated in those intervening games. The Yanks can give Bader some time to see how his hamstring feels and then place him on the IL if it doesn’t improve. Of course, taking that path means playing shorthanded for a few days, but it could possibly allow them to avoid putting Bader on the shelf if his health improves.
Injuries have become a frequent thread in Bader’s career, as he’s spent some time on the IL in each full season from 2019 to the present. He played 103 games in 2021 and 86 last year, then started the 2023 season on the injured list due to an oblique strain. He eventually returned and has been playing very well of late, hitting .267/.295/.511 through 26 games while stealing six bases and providing quality glovework. However, he’s now at risk of having that production put on hold yet again, depending on how things develop in the coming days. Whether he goes on the IL or not, the club will have to fill center field in his absence, with playing time potentially going to Aaron Judge, Isiah Kiner-Falefa or Greg Allen.
Elsewhere on the roster, catcher Jose Trevino seems ready for a fairly quick return. Bryan Hoch of MLB.com relays word from Boone that the backstop could be activated during the club’s current series against the Mariners, which runs through Wednesday. He landed on the 10-day injured list May 18 with a hamstring strain, so it looks like his stint could wind up being just over the minimum.
The glove-first catcher led the league in Defensive Runs Saved last year with 21 and also had the best framing marks in the majors according to FanGraphs. He wasn’t quite at the same pace this year but was still above-average before straining his hamstring. Once he’s able to return, it could mean that Ben Rortvedt gets optioned back to the minors. He has done a good job filling in for Trevino, hitting .286/.444/.429 but in a small sample of nine plate appearances.
Lefty Carlos Rodón is also on track to return to the team, though his return won’t be as imminent as Trevino. He threw a 20-pitch bullpen session at high intensity, per Hoch, and will soon throw another bullpen before moving on to live hitters. Signed to a six-year, $162MM deal this offseason, the southpaw has yet to make his Yankee debut after suffering a forearm strain in the spring and then dealing with back problems.
With both Rodón and Frankie Montas having been absent all season so far, it’s opened some rotation work for other hurlers like Domingo Germán, Clarke Schmidt, Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez. Germán also had to miss some time due to his 10-game sticky stuff suspension, though he has now served that and returned yesterday. That shuffling of arms has left the club’s rotation ERA at 4.38 for the year, placing them 15th out of the 30 clubs in the league. Rodón has a 2.67 ERA dating back to the start of the 2021 season and will undoubtedly provide the club with a boost once healthy, but he still has a long road ahead of him in building back up to a full starter’s workload, since he’s effectively just starting his delayed spring ramp-up now.
There are some other reinforcements that appear to be closer at hand, as the Double-A Somerset Patriots announced (Twitter links) that third baseman Josh Donaldson, outfielder/designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton and right-hander Tommy Kahnle are all joining that club for rehab work tonight. Donaldson and Kahnle were already rehabbing with other affiliates but this will be Stanton’s first game action in a while. He was out to a strong .269/.296/.558 start before suffering a hamstring strain about six weeks ago. He’s always been an excellent hitter but health has been a frequent concern lately, as he’s been on the IL in each season since 2018.