TAMPA, Fla. — The Yankees made official Saturday what had been expected for two days.
Centerfielder Harrison Bader, diagnosed Thursday with a left oblique strain, will be out “six weeks, give or take,” Aaron Boone said.
“Hopefully he can beat it,” Boone said after a 6-3 split-squad loss to the Phillies (the Yankees fell to the Pirates, 3-0. in Bradenton in the other split-squad game). “I think they’re [the medical staff] a little surprised at what he’s able to do already and how he feels already. But obliques, obviously, are about as tricky as they come. You’ll kind of have a better idea a couple of weeks from now how he’s doing, when he’s ready to start [baseball activities].”
Bader felt the discomfort during his second and final at-bat Wednesday against the Cardinals on what he described as “an awkward swing.”
“You have at-bats you feel super-comfortable and you feel like you're locked down and other times you kind of feel like you're not really dug into the dirt,” Bader said Saturday in his first comments since the injury. “And I just think that he [righthander Wilking Rodriguez] did a really good job of holding the ball and disrupting my timing, which is all a competitive aspect of the game, and I just took a bad swing, which I’ll take many of them during the course of a full season.”
Bader, obtained from the Cardinals at the Aug. 2 trade deadline last season, did not appear in a regular-season game until Sept. 20 because of a severe case of plantar fasciitis that had kept him out since June 26. He provided a defensive upgrade in the outfield and wound up being the Yankees’ best hitter in the postseason, going 10-for-30 (.333) with five homers and a 1.262 OPS in nine games.
“Obviously, I'm frustrated, [but] injuries are a part of the game,” Bader said. “And it's not necessarily what happens but it's how you respond. So I have a really good training staff and we're taking the course of action to make sure I get back as healthy and as soon as possible.”
German: Stay the course
With the injury to Carlos Rodon earlier in the week, that all but ensured that Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt both will be in the rotation, barring the Yankees bringing in someone from the outside.
German entered camp as the favorite in the competition with Schmidt for the fifth starter job, and he did nothing in his first two starts to hurt his chances. He wasn’t quite as sharp in his third start on Saturday but still was fine, allowing two runs and three hits with three strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings.
German said Rodon's injury did nothing to change his spring training approach. “No, no, no. The mentality stays the same,” he said through his interpreter. “I’m very focused on my job and the things I need to do, my routine and my work. At the end of the day, the coaches get together with the front office and they make the best decision for our team. But for me, the mentality’s the same — be very sharp with my work.”
Phillies righthander Matt Seelinger, a Clarke High School graduate who pitched at Farmingdale State before being taken by the Pirates in the 28th round of the 2017 draft, came on with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the first and retired Jasson Dominguez on a pop-up to third. Seelinger, 27, who finished last season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley in the Philadelphia system, was a minor-league addition to the travel roster for Saturday’s game.