Oblique issue could delay start of season for Yankees’ Harrison Bader

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Injuries continue to pile up for the New York Yankees as they get ready to begin their AL East title defense.

Manager Aaron Boone told reporters Friday that outfielder Harrison Bader has an oblique issue. The injury puts Bader’s availability for opening day in doubt.

The Yankees already had said pitchers Carlos Rodón, Frankie Montas, Tommy Kahle and Lou Trivino wouldn’t be ready for the March 30 opener against San Francisco.

Rodón, starting a $162 million, six-year contract, has a left forearm strain that will cause him to open the season on the injured list. Rodón has been an All-Star the last two seasons and is expected to fill a major role on the Yankees’ rotation.

Montas is recovering from shoulder surgery and won’t begin throwing until at least late May. Kahle (biceps) and Trivno (elbow) are expected to be part of the bullpen.


Jacob deGrom could make his first spring training start for the Texas Rangers on Monday.

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw to hitters for the first time on Wednesday, when he was in the upper 90s with his fastball and hit 100 mph on the last of his 35 pitches.

Manager Bruce Bochy said deGrom will throw again Saturday and, if all goes well, could pitch against Arizona two days later.

“He’s in a good place right now,” Bochy said. “Knock on wood, all goes well with him, he’ll have three outings here before he starts the season.”

Texas signed deGrom to a $185 million, five-year contract in December. He spent his first nine big league seasons with the New York Mets. but injuries limited him to 156 1/3 innings in 26 starts over the past two seasons.

The right-hander threw about six bullpen sessions before arriving in Arizona, but was delayed in throwing in camp and reporting stiffness in his left side before the Rangers’ first first workout Feb. 15.


Justin Verlander, the three-time Cy Young Award winner who left Houston to sign an $86.7 million, two-year contract with the Mets, struck out five and allowed one run and three hits over 3 1/3 innings against his former team.

Mets outfielder Starling Marte played his first exhbition game and went 2 of 2 with a homer and a double in a 7-2 victory. Marte said he isn’t at full strength yet but expects to get there by the start of the season.

Marte underwent offseason surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

“As I get stronger, as my body gets stronger throughout the next couple of weeks, I should be ready for opening day at 100%,” Marte told reporters through an intepreter.


Tampa Bay’s Yandy Díaz left the Rays’ exhibition game after a pitch from Atlanta’s Ian Anderson hit him on the left hand.

Rays manager Kevin Cash said during the television broadcast of the game that X-rays appeared to be negative. This game had marked the infielder’s return from a hip flexor injury.

Díaz batted .296 with nine homers, 57 RBIs and a .401 on-base percentage last season.

Tampa Bay got an encouraging performance from Jeffrey Springs, who struck out six of the 10 batters he faced in 3 1/3 innings of no-hit ball.


Philadelphia Phillies pitching prospect Andrew Painter has a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow.

The Phillies announced Friday that the 19-year-old had undergone an MRI on March 3. A second opinion confirmed the UCL sprain. Painter made his spring training debut on March 1 and said the next day that he felt tenderness in his elbow.

Painter is expected to rest for four weeks from the date of the injury before beginning a light throwing program.

The Phillies selected Painter with the 13th overall pick in the 2021 amateur draft. He went 6-2 with a 1.56 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings last season in 22 starts at Class A and Double-A.

Astros star Jose Altuve has surgery on broken thumb, a WBC injury

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Houston Astros star Jose Altuve had surgery Wednesday on his broken right thumb, an injury that occurred in the World Baseball Classic and will significantly delay the second baseman’s 2023 debut.

The Astros announced that the 32-year-old Altuve had the procedure done in Houston and will stay there to begin his rehabilitation, with only one week left in spring training. The Astros will fly there on Sunday following their final Grapefruit League game in Florida, before playing a pair of exhibitions against their Triple-A team, the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, in Texas.

Altuve was hit by a pitch on Saturday while playing for Venezuela in the WBC. He might not be ready to return to the lineup until at least late May. The eight-time All-Star and 2017 American League MVP batted .300 with 103 runs, 28 homers and 18 steals for the World Series champion Astros last season. Mauricio Dubón and David Hensley are the leading candidates to fill in for Altuve at second base.

Altuve isn’t the only Major League Baseball star who was hurt in WBC play, of course. Mets closer Edwin Díaz will miss the 2023 season because of a torn patellar tendon in his right knee as the freak result of an on-field celebration following a WBC win by the Puerto Rico national team.


The Astros also scratched right-hander Hunter Brown from his scheduled start Wednesday against the Mets in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Manager Dusty Baker told reporters that Brown, who is ranked by MLB as the organization’s top prospect and competing for the last spot in the rotation, has discomfort in his lower back.


The New York Mets sent catcher Francisco Álvarez to Triple-A Syracuse, quashing for now the possibility of putting the prized 21-year-old on the opening day roster.

Álvarez, who made his major league debut with the Mets near the end of last season, had just three hits in 28 at-bats in Grapefruit League exhibition games. Ranked by MLB as the third-best prospect in baseball, Álvarez batted .260 with 27 homers and 78 RBIs in a combined 112 minor league games in 2022 at Double-A and Triple-A.

The Mets have newcomer Omar Narváez, a 2021 All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers, as their primary catcher with Tomás Nido likely to play mostly against left-handed pitchers.

Speaking of the Mets, Díaz turned 29 on Wednesday – a rather subdued milestone for the right-hander considering his situation. Diaz nonetheless posted in Spanish an upbeat message on his Twitter account, thanking God for another year of life and describing his health as good and his outlook as positive in this initial stage of the roughly eight-month rehabilitation process.