The New York Yankees, in addition to the all the pitching injuries reported in recent days, will be without center fielder Harrison Bader for a while as he nurses an oblique strain.
These have been critical days for the Bombers’ depth.
Fortunately for them, they seem to have good enough alternatives to plug in for short-term absences.
Insider Brendan Kuty, who covers the team for The Athletic, offered his prediction of the Yanks’ Opening Day lineup considering Bader’s ailment.
My guess on the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup without Harrison Bader:
1. LeMahieu 2B
2. Judge CF
3. Rizzo 1B
4. Stanton RF
5. Torres DH
6. Donaldson 3B
7. Hicks LF
8. Peraza SS
9. Trevino C
— Brendan Kuty (@BrendanKutyNJ) March 10, 2023
Aaron Judge played more than 600 innings in center field last season and rated positively.
He is definitely the team’s best center fielder after Bader.
For a short-term period, plugging him in there seems like a great idea.
If Bader is going to miss a long period, however, then the Yanks would probably reconsider since they probably don’t want their $360 million investment patrolling center for too much time.
Judge’s hypothetical inclusion as the center fielder opens up a spot in right, where Giancarlo Stanton would play in Kuty’s exercise.
Lower-body injuries have sapped some of his speed, but Stanton can be a competent right fielder, and it’s actually his natural position.
Aaron Hicks would occupy left field and Oswaldo Cabrera is there to back him up.
Since the team insists on starting Josh Donaldson at third base, DJ LeMahieu would play second while Gleyber Torres occupies the DH spot.
The ideal infielder alignment would have LeMahieu at third, Torres at second, Oswald Peraza as the shortstop and Anthony Rizzo at first, but manager Aaron Boone insists on Donaldson as his starter at the hot corner.
In any case, this is still a great lineup even without Bader.
They will suffer more on defense, though, since Bader is a Gold Glover out there.NEXT: Yankees Center Fielder Is The Latest Victim Of Their Injury Crisis