What is the Yankees’ plan to make up for injured players?

Carlos Rodon and Nestor Cortes, who are among Yankees players with injuries, are watching others training at spring camp in Tampa, Fl.

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TAMPA, Fla. – Harrison Bader was in the Yankees locker room at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday morning. He will probably stay behind when the Yankees go north to continue healing from a pulled left oblique, which is likely to keep him out of action past Opening Day. Bader hurt his oblique on his last swing during Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Cardinals. The Yankees haven’t said when he’ll be back, but similar injuries usually take four to six weeks to heal.

The injured outfielder struck a philosophical tone as he tried to make the best of a frustrating situation.

“It is definitely a punch in the face,” Bader told. “It’s unfortunate that it happened with an ample amount of time left in Spring Training; you don’t want to go down at all. You shift now, when things happen, to a much more positive outlook and focus on the healing process. There are a lot of things in my favor, so I’m just looking forward to coming back when I’m ready.”

Bader wore a t-shirt with the phrase “Let the Kids Play” written on it while he talked. That’s not a suggestion to the Yankees top brass, but maybe it should be. It stands out in a camp where top prospects Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez have gotten so much attention.

But the Yankees completed a week that put Bader on the injury list and made sure to keep Carlos Rodón, Tommy Kahnle, and Lou Trivino away from their 2023 Opening Day. Let’s see the Yankees roster and check who might be asked to step up.

Yankees’ potential Bader substitute

On Wednesday, Bader hurt his oblique as he swun during a game against St. Louis. This means that manager Aaron Boone needs to find a center fielder for Opening Day. Aaron Judge, who made 78 starts at the position last season, could be the best choice. Judge says that playing center field gives him “the best view in the house,” and he has shown that he is a good defender. But there are worries about the daily wear and tear.

Even though Aaron Hicks has spent most of his career in center field, the team doesn’t seem to want to move him from left field, where he seems to be the favorite. Boone has said that Rafael Ortega and Estevan Florial are in the running. Many in the Yankees’ circle are excited about Ortega, a non-roster invitee who hit left-handed and had an OPS of .753 over the last two seasons.

Then there is Dominguez, who is the youngest player at camp. The fans would pick the 20-year-old “Martian,” who homered in Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Phillies, but he has only played five games at Double-A.

“He’s been impressive,” Boone told. “It’s my first time getting to be around him and really seeing him for an extended look here. He’s comfortable in the box. He’s got a really good feel for the strike zone. He made huge strides last year from ’21. He’s a guy to be excited about, but yeah, he’s played a couple of games literally over [High-A] ball.”

The injury-prone rotation

Rodon’s left forearm strain is likely to keep him off the mound at Yankee Stadium until at least the middle of April. This gives Domingo German and Clarke Schmidt a chance to start the season in the rotation.

Boone said, “We love where Germán and Schmidt are at and how they’re throwing the ball.”

Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, and Nestor Cortes are others leading the rotation. But Cortes continues to remain away from the Grapefruit League after a hamstring strain kept him from playing in the World Baseball Classic. Though he has a good bullpen season, the Yankees are cautious.

Frankie Montas won’t be back until at least the All-Star break. German and Schmidt are the only other options for depth. Brian Cashman talked about Deivi Garca and Yoendrys Gomez, who was sent to Minor League camp earlier this week, but he will come back on Sunday for his first spring start. Officials also like Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez. But they were sent to Minor League camp on Saturday.

“The difficulty from a front-office standpoint, when you try to line up those people, the guy you want might not even be available because he just threw 100 pitches a day or two earlier,” Cashman said. “So you never have enough. We’ll deal with it as it comes.”

Yankees bullpen

Since Kahnle won’t be back until at least the middle of April because of tendinitis in his right biceps and Trivino won’t be back until May because of a sprained ligament in his right elbow, the Yankees bullpen will likely to have Clay Holmes, Jonathan Loáisiga, Michael King, Wandy Peralta, and Ron Marinaccio.

Greg Weissert’s crossbody sinker/slider has been getting a lot of praise and the Yankees may rope him in.

“He’s freaking nasty,” Cole said recently of Weissert. “He keeps getting better, trying to find that cadence and delivery that allows him to pressure the strike zone. On Wednesday, Weissert threw a fastball and the guy fell over trying to swing at it. The action on the pitch was shocking.”

Jimmy Cordero is on the 40-man roster and has pitched well this spring. Boone likes his power arm and command and admitted, “I think he’ll be a key piece for us.”

The Yankees are is turning Matt Krook, who is 28 years old, into a reliever because they think he is a great left-on-left pitcher. Also, Ian Hamilton’s slider has gotten a lot of attention and manager Aaron Boone calls it “a problem” for batters.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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