Harrison Bader’s Yankees debut a homecoming success
Harrison Bader got obscured by Aaron Judge’s historic homer and Giancarlo Stanton’s dramatic grand slam. No matter. His Yankees debut was as perfect a night as he could hope for, helping his new team to a come-from-behind 9-8 win over Pittsburgh.
After not having played since June thanks to plantar fasciitis, Bader — acquired at the trade deadline — went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored in his first appearance as a Bomber.
“That was the goal,” Bader said of making an immediate impact. “Everything that came prior to being able to debut is in the past and I just wanted to be — whether it was a catch or a stolen bag or whatever — I was just really wanting and ready to be effective for this team to help them win the game.
“And I had a couple of situations where I found some holes, and it worked out in my favor. Still work to do; we’ve got a long road ahead. But it felt good to deliver for this clubhouse, for sure.”
It felt especially good, for a host of reasons.
Bader was raised in Bronxville and went to high school at Horace Mann in The Bronx. Unsurprisingly, he grew up a Yankee fan.
“There’s definitely a special history here for me, obviously,” Bader said. “I was in the stands when I was younger.”
Now the Gold Glove center fielder is getting a chance to help his hometown team win.
He started in center and hit seventh Tuesday, marking his first major league game since June 26 with St. Louis. He was put on the 10-day injured list the next day with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
The Yankees acquired him at the Aug. 2 trade deadline for Jordan Montgomery; and when he immediately got moved to the 60-day injured list while the pitcher got off to a hot start with the Cardinals, some prematurely labeled the trade one-sided — and not in the Bombers’ favor.
But Bader quickly won over the 40,157 on hand at the Stadium.
“I felt very comfortable,” he said. “The fans in New York are very sweet. I love their cheers. It was just a great win. It was a beautiful night. I felt super comfortable.”
Bader singled to left in the fifth to score Oswaldo Cabrera and knot the game at 1-1, then came around to score a go-ahead run on Jose Trevino’s single.
And with the Yankees down 3-2 in the next inning, he hit a two-run single to right to bring home Josh Donaldson and Cabrera. But what he said he’ll remember most is Stanton’s dramatics in the ninth.
“Just the walk-off. My first debut as a Cardinal in 2017 was a walk-off, and my Yankee debut was another walk-off. So, it’s just really special just to be part of big wins,” Bader said. “Just a special night for all of us. It’s a big win.”
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