With over a third of the 2023 regular season in the books, here are three things we’ll be keeping an eye on around the baseball world throughout the day today:
1. Bader to undergo MRI:
Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader, who left yesterday’s game with right hamstring tightness, is set to undergo an MRI today to determine the severity of the issue. Manager Aaron Boone suggested to reporters (including Erik Boland of Newsday) that Bader may be able to avoid an IL stint, though one can’t be ruled out until further testing is done. Bader missed the first month of the season with an oblique strain.
Bader has combined typically stellar center field defense with a .267/.295/.511 batting line and six home runs, placing him alongside Aaron Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton (on the IL with a hamstring injury of his own) as one of the team’s most productive hitters. Should Bader miss time, outfielder Franchy Cordero and infielder Oswald Peraza are the top minor league hitters currently on the 40-man roster. Judge, Isiah-Kiner Falefa and Greg Allen would be among the options to step into Bader’s spot in center field.
2. How will Mullins’ injury impact Baltimore?
Bader wasn’t the only AL East center fielder to suffer a concerning injury yesterday. Orioles star Cedric Mullins suffered a strain to his right abductor/groin area during yesterday’s loss to the Guardians. Mullins underwent testing last night to determine the severity of the injury, and details should be made available before this evening’s game.
In addition to strong defense in center, Mullins has been a key contributor (alongside Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, and Adley Rutschman) to the offensive core that has lifted Baltimore to a 34-20 record that leaves them with a two-game lead for the top AL Wild Card spot. Should Mullins miss significant time, the club could shift Adam Frazier from second base to the outfield, where he has 1,264 2/3 innings of experience across seven seasons, until Colton Cowser or Kyle Stowers is ready to return from injuries of their own. Frazier has ample experience in left field, and left fielder Austin Hays has played plenty of center field in his career. Alternatively, the Orioles could utilize the open spot on their 40-man roster to select the contract of a stopgap option such as Daz Cameron or Ben DeLuzio.
3. MLBTR Chat Today:
With Memorial Day now in the rearview mirror, the storylines of the 2023 season are beginning to crystalize as we head into the summer. If the events of the season so far have spurred any questions in your mind about your favorite team or the league as a whole, MLBTR’s Steve Adams is holding a live chat with readers at 1pm CT today. You can click here to ask a question in advance, join in live once the chat begins, or read the transcript once the chat is complete.