The New York Yankees have been bitten by the injury bug just before Opening Day, with franchise ace Gerrit Cole expected to miss at least 10 weeks following an elbow injury and star slugger Aaron Judge skipping ten days of Spring Training to rest an abdominal problem.

The New York Yankees have been urged to consider signing free agent Josh Harrison as a bench upgrade for 2024

Plus, projected leadoff hitter and four-time Gold Glove third baseman DJ LeMahieu might miss the start of the season after a foul ball left a “pretty significant bone bruise” on his right foot. To help bolster the bench, a major-league scout has suggested the Yankees sign free agent Josh Harrison.

“The Yankees probably have nothing to lose taking a flier on two-time All-Star Josh Harrison, who opted out of his minor-league contract with the (Cincinnati) Reds after being informed he wouldn’t make their Opening Day roster,” Randy Miller reported for “A major-league scout who saw Harrison in Arizona this spring thinks he’d be an upgrade over anything the Yankees have in-house as a fill-in for LeMahieu.”

Josh Harrison Would Be a Bench Upgrade for the New York Yankees

Harrison might not be the presence he was in All-Star 2014 and 2017 campaigns for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he saw 103 at bats for the formidable Philadelphia Phillies last season and has played 338 career games at third base to go along with 646 games at second base and 148 games in the outfield.

In 13 big-league seasons, Harrison has slashed for a career .270/.316/.396. And there’s reason to believe he’d be an upgrade over the current Yankees options to fill in for LeMahieu, who will be starting the fourth season of a six-year, $90 million contract.

“The internal candidates aren’t overly exciting, and they (still) wouldn’t be if Oswald Peraza wasn’t hurt because his hitting was so disappointing as a rookie last year,” Miller added. “There’s Oswaldo Cabrera, who plays seven positions pretty well but hasn’t been much of a threat at the plate.”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has previously suggested the team would be looking outside of its internal options to fill out the roster ahead of Opening Day.

“I feel like we have some people that we can rely on here, but any spring, we’ll always look external, too,” Cashman said, according to Gary Phillips of the New York Daily News. “We’ll see how the rest of camp plays out elsewhere, as well as trade conversations. Something that might not fit elsewhere might fit better here.”

Harrison’s deal with the Reds was for one year and $1.5 million and, as he opted out,’s Bryan Hoch noted that he “could be an option if DJ LeMahieu isn’t ready to begin the season.”

The New York Yankees Could Use a Veteran Presence in the Clubhouse

In addition to that initial need at third base, Harrison brings some intangibles that might intrigue the Yankees as a season-long asset.

“While he’s certainly not someone you’d pencil in to bat leadoff as the Yankees had designs on doing with LeMahieu, Harrison makes plenty of contact,” Peter Brody wrote for Pinstripe Alley. “He also would offer positional versatility to a Yankees bench that projects to carry two catchers, playing every position but catcher in his career… At the very least, Harrison is regarded by his peers as one of the truly good guys around the sport.”