Harrison Bader has big Yankees plans after ‘tough year’ with Cardinals

Harrison Bader arrived at the Yankees’ clubhouse Wednesday morning in a walking boot, but with the confidence he can still make an impact for his hometown team this season. 

The Gold Glove center fielder, who was acquired from the Cardinals for Jordan Montgomery before the trade deadline Tuesday, has been in the boot for a week and will be for another week in an attempt to cure the plantar fasciitis in his right foot. The Bronxville native, who is under contract through 2023, may not be available until September, general manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday, but the Yankees still believe it was a trade worth making. 

“I just couldn’t be more happy to be here,” Bader said. “It’s been a tough year obviously, having to deal with the boot and everything, not being 100 percent healthy. But this organization does its homework, I can assure you that, and this is perfectly manageable. I’m just focused on getting back and helping this team win.” 

Bader said his doctors had “tried everything except for nothing” to address his plantar fasciitis, which is why he is currently in a boot and resting. But he’s optimistic this rehab route can get him back on the field this season. 

Harrison Bader playing for the Cardinals on May 7, 202
Harrison Bader playing for the Cardinals on May 7, 2022
AP

“I’m very confident I’ll be back this year,” Bader said. 

The foot issue is something Bader has been dealing with since the start of this season, though he has played in 72 games while batting .256 with a .673 OPS and 15 steals, along with -2 Defensive Runs Saved in center field, per FanGraphs. 

“I remember mentally what it’s like to feel good, but physically I haven’t felt it in a long time, just because it’s a nagging injury,” Bader said. “One thing Brian told me was to not rush it, which alleviates some pressure for sure.” 

When he does get healthy, the Yankees believe they will have one of the top defensive center fielders in the game. 

“You cannot convince me otherwise that he’s [not] the best center fielder in baseball,” said Matt Carpenter, who spent five seasons with Bader on the Cardinals. “I think Yankee fans are going to be amazed with the talent he has in center field. It is very special. … When he’s healthy, he’s going to be a force for us.” 

Bader, who had a haircut at 8 a.m. Wednesday to chop off his long blonde hair in accordance with team policy, grew up a Yankees fan. He was in attendance when Derek Jeter ran into the stands to make a catch against the Red Sox in 2004, and his parents were at Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, when Aaron Boone hit the walk-off home run. 

“Just to be a part of this history means a lot,” Bader said. “I know what it stands for. I keep that in the back of my mind as I’m doing little movements and progressing back to being at a point where I can go run down balls in center field and win a championship.”

Source link: https://nypost.com/2022/08/03/harrison-bader-has-big-yankees-plans-after-tough-year-with-cardinals/

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