The career of Harrison Bader has certainly come full circle from growing up in Bronxville, N.Y. rooting for the Yankees to now being a member of the team following Tuesday’s trade deadline.
The outfielder was acquired in a last-second deal with the St, Louis Cardinals that brought the talented outfielder back home. The catch for the Yankees was that Bader has been sidelined with plantar fasciitis that is expected to keep him out of the lineup until September.
Still, that hasn’t diminished Bader’s excitement about his new team. The 28-year-old set up shop in his new locker stall on Wednesday before the Yankees hosted the Seattle Mariners.
“I just couldn’t be more happy to be here. It’s been a tough year obviously having to deal with the boot and everything and not being 100% healthy,” Bader said. “This organization does its homework, I can assure you that, and this is perfectly manageable. Just really focused on getting back and helping this team win. … What these guys have done over here is just very impressive and I like to think they pick their guys pretty closely.
“Again it really is an honor to be here, I was born and raised in the city. Just focused on getting here and helping this team win games and win a world series cause it feels pretty close.”
Bader was in a walking boot on Wednesday when he met with the New York media for the first time and said that he would be in it for another week. He has been resting the foot after trying several different treatments, which he didn’t want to get into specifics about.
The plantar fasciitis was something that had been a lingering issue this year for Bader while he was with the Cardinals. He said that it was the first time that he had been dealing with it, but that he was “very confident” that he would play this season.
Bader appeared in 72 games for the Cardinals this season and batted .256 with a .303 on-base percentage. The Gold Glove winner has -2 Defensive Runs Saved in center field, per FanGraphs.
The defensive prowess was one of the main draws for the Yankees in acquiring Bader. Matt Carpenter even went as far as to call home the best “best defensive center fielder in baseball.”
“You cannot convince me otherwise that he’s the best defensive center fielder in baseball,” Carpenter said. “I’ve seen it for years, and I think Yankee fans are going to be amazed with the talent that he has in center field. I mean, it is very special. And I think for our particular group, he’s going to bring a lot. When he’s healthy, he’s going to be a force.”
Having grown up watching the Yankees, Bader knows what the organization has been all about and what the expectations are for them this season. And it was quite clear where his mind was at when he talked about what was to come in the Bronx.
“I know what this culture is about. I was born, not right down the street, but in the backyard here. I know what it’s about,” he explained. “I’m really just focused on the opportunity to go out there and play my game. … Just to be able to be a part of this history obviously means a lot. I know what it stands for and everything, so I keep that in the back of my mind as I’m doing little movements and progressing back to just being able to run down balls in center field and win a championship.”