Harrison Bader’s Yankees debut gets first timeline


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Harrison Bader is moving closer to see action with the Yankees than ever since the announcement of his acquisition on August 2. He is on his way to a Tuesday rehab game and may join the active roster in the final two weeks of the season.

The central fielder now has a timetable set by the Yankees for his return to game action. In a surprise deadline trade with the Cardinals, New York bought Bader and another “a player to be named later.” Starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery moved to St. Louis as part of the deal.

While Montgomery has emerged as a key member of the St. Louis team, Bader is yet to play for the Yankees. The center fielder has been out with plantar fasciitis since late June.

On Monday, he worked out in the outfield before the game at Yankee Stadium. Manager Aaron Boone expects that if Bader keeps making progress as planned this week, he could start rehab as early as next Tuesday, if not sooner.

“This will be an important week for him in that he’ll do full pregame outfield work, final running progression, continuing to hit,” the manager told. He continued, “If all goes well there, could start a rehab — we have him targeted for the 13th, which is next Tuesday. But we could even move that up if this week continues to look like what we hope.”

Bader hasn’t played since June 26 and no one in New York is sure how many rehab games he may need before the outfielder is ready to play again. But his manager thinks the Bronx native has enough time to be an excellent major league player before the playoffs start, even if he only gets to play in the last two weeks of the regular season.

“I think I’ll be 100 percent ready to compete,” the outfielder nicknamed ‘Tots’ said and added, “Whatever I can squeeze out of that is where I’ll be. Trying to return to a version of myself that I thought I was before this injury, it’s not real. It’s in your head and many ways it holds you back. It’s a clean slate. Go out there and soak up as much as I can and play winning baseball. That’s all that matters.”

While Bader is set to return, Anthony Rizzo stayed at home to rest on his doctor’s orders after getting headaches over the weekend from the epidural he just got. The Yankees were hoping he would be able to play baseball again on Monday after his recovery from back injury.

If the first baseman doesn’t have a headache on Monday and Tuesday, he could come back on Wednesday and start getting back to normal practice. Boone said he didn’t think Rizzo would have to move to the injured list, especially since the Yankees already had two extra position players because their rosters were bigger.

Marwin Gonzalez started at first base for the first time this season because Rizzo was out and DJ LeMahieu was taking the day off to recuperate from his sore toe after going 1-for-29 in his last eight games. In the third inning, he dropped a throw from Isiah Kiner-Falefa.

When do you think Harrison Bader will play for the Yankees? Will he make an impact like Montegomery has with St. Louis? Can Rizzo take to field against the Twins?

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