St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader has been recovering from a broken rib for over a month but now will return to the outfield.
There has only been one very small period during the 2021 season for the St. Louis Cardinals where the entire projected outfield has been on the field.
To start the year, Harrison Bader was on the IL and Tyler O’Neill has also been to the IL twice. Most recently, Bader went to the IL with a broken rib suffered after landing on a ball in a game on May 24.
At the time, both Bader and Paul DeJong were out with broken ribs, and both proved to be lengthy and painful recoveries. Thankfully for the Cardinals, Bader will return on Thursday when the Cardinals take on the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
After taking more than a month off, Bader took just four games to get back up to speed, playing three games at Low-A Palm Beach and one game at AAA Memphis. In total, Bader hit .364 (4-11) in the games and is apparently ready to go once again.
More from St Louis Cardinals News
- Cardinals: Former MLB GM calls Jordan Walker a superstar for 2023
- Cardinals: Cubs looking to make major moves this offseason
- St. Louis Cardinals: New CBA rule encourages Jordan Walker’s promotion
- Cardinals: These are the ways St. Louis can free up more payroll
- Cardinals: First offseason acquisition is minor but speaks volumes
On the year, Bader has just a .219/.301/.411 slash line in 73 at-bats, but has performed much better against offspeed and breaking balls which have hurt him a ton in the past. If Bader can find a way to keep his previous yearly averages on fastballs and improve on the other pitches as well as keep up his defense, he can be a very valuable player.
When the Cardinals have had their entire outfield healthy, things have gone very well but there is no question that the team is excited to get back their center fielder. In Bader’s place, Dylan Carlson put up -4 DRS in center. While Carlson is viewed as above average in right, he’s only played 177.1 innings out there compared to 487.2 innings in center because of Baders’ injuries.
With an O’Neill/Bader/Carlson outfield, the Cardinals’ should finally get to the point where their defense can hit its stride. Again, Tommy Edman and others who filled in at right field did so admirably, but nothing will line up the Cardinals better than when the three expected players are in the outfield and Edman is at second base.
Bader will have to continue hitting, but there is no doubt that the Cardinals, a team searching for consistency, will get a boost from the return of Harrison Bader to the lineup.