Yankees’ Harrison Bader reinstated from injured list

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Harrison Bader was activated from the injured list by the New York Yankees, and the speedy center fielder could make his season debut against the Cleveland Guardians.

Diminished by injuries, the slumping Yankees hope Bader can spark their offense a bit. He’s been sidelined since March 10 in spring training with a strained left oblique muscle.

New York (15-15) has lost four straight and seven of nine, falling into last place in the AL East. The team totaled only 10 runs during those seven defeats.

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge went on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 28, because of a strained right hip.

Designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring strain) and third baseman Josh Donaldson (right hamstring strain) also are on the IL.

To open a roster spot for Bader, the Yankees optioned corner outfielder Franchy Cordero back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre following a 3-2 loss to Cleveland.

In the absence of Bader, the Yankees have mostly played Judge, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks in center.

Bader went 0 for 4 with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was 3 for 25 (.125) with one RBI during a seven-game minor league rehab assignment. He was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals at the Aug. 2 trade deadline last year for left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

Bader was out with a foot injury when the Cardinals traded him and he didn’t make his Yankees debut until Sept. 20, batting just .217 with nine RBIs in 14 regular-season games for New York.

But he had a huge postseason, hitting .333 (10 for 30) with five home runs, six RBIs and four walks in nine playoff games against Cleveland and Houston.

The 28-year-old Bader was born in Bronxville, about 10 miles north of Yankee Stadium. He won a Gold Glove in 2021 with St. Louis and can become a free agent after this season.

Cordero has been sent back and forth from Triple-A several times in the past few days.

He traveled from Texas to Worcester, Massachusetts, after he was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Then, after Jake Bowers got hurt crashing into the left-field wall in the first inning of his Yankees debut against the Rangers, Cordero headed back to Texas to join the Yankees’ taxi squad. He was recalled from the RailRiders when Judge went on the injured list, then optioned back down after the game against the Guardians.

MLB, WNBA postpone games due to smoke from Canadian wildfires

mlb canadian wildfires
Tariq Zehawi/USA TODAY NETWORK
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NEW YORK — With the stench of smoke permeating Yankee Stadium and wafting through its walkways, Major League Baseball postponed games in New York and Philadelphia on Wednesday night because of poor air quality caused by Canadian wildfires.

A National Women’s Soccer League game in New Jersey and an indoor WNBA game set for Brooklyn were also called off Wednesday amid hazy conditions that have raised alarms from health authorities.

The New York Yankees’ game against the Chicago White Sox was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader starting at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, and the Philadelphia Phillies’ game against the Detroit Tigers was reset for 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, originally a day off for both teams.

“These postponements were determined following conversations throughout the day with medical and weather experts and all of the impacted clubs regarding clearly hazardous air quality conditions in both cities,” MLB said in a statement.

The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for New York City, saying: “the New York State Department of Health recommends that individuals consider limiting strenuous outdoor physical activity to reduce the risk of adverse health effects.” In Philadelphia, the NWS issued a Code Red.

The Yankees and White Sox played through a lesser haze on Tuesday night. A day later, stadium workers and fans arriving early to the ballpark wore face masks for protection in a scene reminiscent of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was business as usual for me coming in. I got in around 12, 12:30, and didn’t really think too much of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I actually walked outside about 2 o’clock and was like – like everyone else, like – whoa.”

White Sox manager Pedro Grifol thought MLB made the right decision postponing the game.

“These are health issues, right? So this has got to be it. We’ve been through everything – snow, rain, hail. I don’t think I’ve been through something like this,” he said. “Today at one point, it was pretty bad out there. We walked out of the dugout and it was kind of orange. They did the right thing. They got all the information.

“I’m assuming if Major League Baseball is comfortable setting up a doubleheader tomorrow, they have some type of information that it should be better than what it is today, or at least safe.”

In Philadelphia, the Phillies beat the Tigers 1-0 on Tuesday night in a game played in hazy conditions with the smell of smoke in the air. Afterward, manager Rob Thomson and his Phillies players said the conditions didn’t affect them.

About a half-hour before Wednesday’s postponement, Thomson said he thought the game would be played. But the Philadelphia skyline could not be seen from the ballpark in the afternoon, and the smoky smell remained.

Minor league teams nearby also changed plans. The Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania, and the Mets’ top farm club in Syracuse, New York, postponed their games for the second consecutive night.

The Mets’ High-A affiliate in Brooklyn completed a game Wednesday against Greenville that began at 11 a.m.

The WNBA called off a game between the Minnesota Lynx and New York Liberty, saying the decision was made to “protect the health and safety of our fans, teams and community.” A makeup date wasn’t immediately announced.

Even inside Barclays Center at the morning shootaround, reporters could smell smoke in the arena.

The NWSL postponed Orlando’s match at Gotham in Harrison, New Jersey, from Wednesday night to Aug. 9.

“The match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index,” the NWSL said.

At nearby Belmont Park, the New York Racing Association said training went on as planned Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s Triple Crown horse race. However, NYRA canceled training Thursday morning at Belmont and Saratoga Race Course upstate “due to poor air quality conditions forecast to impact New York State overnight and into Thursday morning.”

NYRA said a decision about Thursday’s live racing program, scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m., will be made Thursday morning “following a review of the air quality conditions and forecast.”

“NYRA utilizes external weather services and advanced on-site equipment to monitor weather conditions and air quality in and around Belmont Park,” spokesman Patrick McKenna said Wednesday. “Training was conducted normally today, and NYRA will continue to assess the overall environment to ensure the safety of training and racing throughout the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.”

New York’s NFL teams, the Giants and Jets, both had Wednesday off from offseason workouts. The Giants had been planning to practice inside Thursday, and the Jets said they are also likely to work out indoors Thursday.

Youth sports in the area were also affected, with parents quick to voice concern about their children’s safety outdoors.

In a statement Wednesday, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said schools should understand that all schedules were subject to change.

“NJSIAA is closely monitoring air quality data across New Jersey and local/state health advisories. As start times for athletic events draw near, we will make decisions for each venue and sport based on currently available information,” the organization said.

It’s not the first time in recent years that wildfires forced changes to the MLB schedule. A two-game series in Seattle between the Mariners and Giants was moved to San Francisco in September 2020 because of poor air quality caused by West Coast wildfires.

About an hour after Wednesday night’s game at Yankee Stadium was postponed, two fans visiting on vacation from Vancouver, British Columbia, were still lingering outside the ballpark.

“It’s just circumstances. What do I say? It makes me disappointed because this is one of the highlights of the trip,” said Malcolm, who was in town with his daughter and didn’t want to give his last name.

“I have a heart condition. That’s the only reason I’m wearing two masks and whatever. And my personal thought is that, why wasn’t it canceled two days ago? Because we knew about all this two days ago. But having said that, I don’t want the players running around and putting out in this, too. It can’t be good for them.”