Harrison Bader has successful night in long awaited Yankees debut

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Harrison Bader Yankees
FILE – St. Louis Cardinals’ Harrison Bader runs to first base after hitting a single against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game May 7, 2022, in San Francisco.
AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File

It felt like a long time coming, but Harrison Bader finally put on his hometown pinstripes and made his Yankees debut during Tuesday’s 9-8 dramatic win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Bader started in center field and batted seventh for the Yankees in his first game since he suited up for the St. Louis Cardinals on June 26. The gold glover has been out since then due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

His debut in the Bronx, a short drive from his hometown of Bronxville, New York, was a momentous occasion for Bader. The Yankee outfielder had his parents in the stands and made his presence felt by driving most of the New York offense for a large part of the game. 

Bader drove in a run on his first hit in pinstripes to tie the game at one in the bottom of the fifth inning. He was able to put a shot right between third and short that just made it out of the infield to score Oswaldo Cabrera from third. 

The 28-year-old later crossed home plate himself when he scored from second on a single to center by Jose Trevino. He drove in two more runs later in the game when he hit an RBI single in the sixth.  

“That was the goal. Everything that came prior to being able to debut tonight is in the past,” Bader said after the win, which was highlighted by Aaron Judge’s 60th home run. “I just wanted to be, whether it was a catch or a stolen bag or whatever, I was just wanting and ready to be effective for this team and help win a game. Had a couple situations where I found some holes and it worked out in my favor. Still work to do and a long road ahead, but it felt good to deliver for this club.” 

The decision to acquire Bader at the expense of losing Jordan Montgomery in the deal has been a point of contention for Yankees fans. New York full well knew Bader had been hurt and would be out for a while when traded for him at the Aug. 2 deadline. 

However, the Yankees front office was impressed with the skillset that Bedar had defensively and they felt it was worth it, even if they had to wait to get Bader into the lineup. 

Now that he is healthy and playing, the Yankees weren’t looking to push Bader past his comfort zone in the first game back. 

For more New York Yankees news, turn to AMNY.com

“My expectation is that we’re getting a good player into our lineup, so I’m really excited about that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game. “I know he’s been chomping at the bit for a while. I feel like his rehab over the last week has gone really well. He’s been able to rack up some at-bats. He feels like he’s moving really good.  I know he’s been really encouraged over the last couple about where he’s at and how he’s felt kind of getting over that hump. 

“Just want him to go out and play his game and that’s being athletic at the center of the field. I think he’s been looking forward to this day.” 

Safe to say, everyone was more than pleased with how Tuesday’s debut went for Bader.