Sophomore outfielder Harrison Bader has been suspended indefinitely from team activities due to a scooter accident early Sunday morning in which the Gainesville Police Department is investigating whether alcohol was involved.
Bader crashed his scooter while driving southbound on Southwest 10th Street when he struck a curb and collided into a parked Ford F-150, according to a Gainesville Police Department incident report filed at 1:25 a.m.
Coach Kevin O’Sullivan announced the suspension via a statement on Tuesday.
Responding officers found the outfielder breathing but unresponsive in the road at 300 S.W. 10th St. Officers smelled “strong odor of alcohol” coming from Bader, who was subsequently transported to Shands with non-life threatening injuries. Charges may be filed depending on the results of a toxicology report to determine alcohol content, the report concluded.
As a freshman, Bader led Florida with a .312 batting average. He started 57 games, including 35 in left field. He tied Justin Shafer for the team lead with 69 hits and finished second with 37 runs scored.
No game proved his worth more than Florida’s 4-3 upset victory of No. 7 Florida State at Dick Howser Stadium last season. Bader robbed a home run in left field, finished 2 for 4 at the plate and scored the go-ahead run.
“Probably his best game he’s played this year to be honest with you,” O’Sullivan said on April 10 in Tallahassee. Bader affected the game in all aspects from his play in left field, his productive at-bats and his three runs.
His absence now leaves a void in the middle of Florida’s lineup and its starting outfield. Along with Shafer, freshmen Ryan Larson and Buddy Reed are lone outfielders listed on Florida’s roster. Sophomore shortstop Richie Martin made 26 starts in center field last year following his fractured right index finger.
O’Sullivan had high praise for Reed, who is from Rhode Island and will wear No. 23 this season. The Texas Rangers selected Reed in the 35th round of last June’s draft.
“He’s one of those guys that’s infectious. He’s got personality. He’s got bounce, and he was a real joy to recruit,” O’Sullivan said. “His teammates like him. He’s probably one of if not the hardest worker we have. He’s got a chance to be a really good player.”
No. 23 Florida opens its season against Maryland on Feb. 14 at McKethan Stadium. Bader, a star centerfielder for Horace Mann High School in Bronxville, N.Y., de-committed from Maryland and committed to Florida in July of 2012.
This story is ongoing and could change pending the GPD investigation.
Follow Adam Pincus on Twitter at @adamDpincus.