Harrison Bader is entering the most important season of his Cardinals career, but he continues to miss time due to injury.
Harrison Bader has made it clear that he wants to win a Gold Glove this season. But his early quest to take home the award has hit an early snag, given that he has not been on the field for the St. Louis Cardinals in recent days.
Bader, who has been out of the lineup for several days with right forearm soreness, is expected to miss more time, manager Mike Shildt told reporters, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. However, Bader is expected to be ready to play by Tuesday.
The injury has never been considered serious, considering that Bader has been hitting at the teams complex. His return would be a nice plus for the Cardinals, who view him as their Opening Day center fielder, and hope he grows into their long-term answer at the position.
That process has been bumpy. Bader has struggled at the plate, most notably against right-handed pitching. He has dealt with inconsistency at the plate throughout his career. He has lived up to the hype defensively despite not winning a Gold Glove. But for a player as talented as Bader, and one who came with so much hype, his career has not been what the franchise had hoped for.
But he has still been a productive player, and is entering the most important season of his career. His absence, however, has meant that the team has gotten an extended look at Lane Thomas in center field and he entered Sunday hitting .500.
Thomas has opened eyes at camp and could fight for playing time in the outfield this season. But the center field job, at least right now, belongs to Bader. It is up to him to keep the job. But he has to get on the field first.