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Harrison Bader to begin 2023 on IL with oblique strain

After losing some pitchers yesterday, the Yankees will now be without their planned center fielder for six weeks.

New York Yankees Spring Training Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images

The Yankees’ awful week of injuries just keeps rolling on. It was bad enough to learn in one full swoop yesterday that top southpaw Carlos Rodón and relievers Tommy Kahnle and Lou Trivino would all begin the 2023 campaign on the injured list. But then we learned after the Yankees’ exhibition game against the Red Sox that center fielder Harrison Bader recently felt a twinge in his oblique — something that never exactly portends sunshine and rainbows.

New York learned of the results today and sure enough, Bader has an oblique strain. He’ll join that trio of pitchers (and another starter, Frankie Montas) on the IL, missing Opening Day.

Oblique injuries are frustrating too in that they can really keep you out of action for awhile. Sometimes, it’s not too long, but some strains just like to nag. The Yankees don’t have a timetable yet, but knowing oblique strains, it could be anywhere between three to eight weeks depending on severity. Ideally, it’s low grade and Bader could be back by the end of April, but you never know.

For the time being, the Yankees’ outfield plans now look a lot more uncertain without the excellent defender in center. Could Aaron Judge be asked to shift over from right to man center for various stretches as he did in 2022? Do the Yankees dare try the aging Aaron Hicks out there again? Can Oswaldo Cabrera’s versatility stretch to center field? Will Triple-A regular Estevan Florial now make the roster as a backup? Might the Yankees just throw up their arms and go outside to acquire another outfielder like Jurickson Profar?

The questions go on and on. Bader’s injury is unfortunate to say the very least and only makes the team’s decision to not accrue more position player depth even more perilous. Stay tuned for whatever comes next in spring training, and let us hope that the team stops doing its best 2013 impression (despite Greg Kirkland’s ominous tweet).


We have a little more information on Bader’s potential return. He’ll likely miss the first three weeks of the 2023 campaign (six total). Check out Andrés’ article detailing how the Yankees could fill the void in center during that time.