Harrison Bader was overshadowed by Aaron Judge’s historic home run and Giancarlo Stanton’s dramatic grand slam. No matter. His debut for the Yankees was as perfect as he could hope for, helping his new team to a 9-8 win over Pittsburgh.
After not playing since June due 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. “Anything that came before we could debut is in the past and I just wanted to be – whether it was a catch or a stolen sack or whatever – I really wanted and was ready to be effective for this team to help them win the Game.
“And I had a few situations where I found holes, and it worked in my favor. Still work to do; we have a long way to go. But it was good to deliver for this clubhouse, that’s for sure.
It was particularly enjoyable, for a host of reasons.
Bader grew up in Bronxville and went to high school at Horace Mann in the Bronx. Unsurprisingly, he grew up a Yankees fan.
“There’s definitely a special story here for me, obviously,” Bader said. “I was in the stands when I was younger.”
Now center fielder Gold Glove has the chance to help his hometown team win.
He started at center and struck on the seventh Tuesday, marking his first major league game since June 26 with St. Louis. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list the following day with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
The Yankees acquired him at the August 2 trade deadline for Jordan Montgomery; and when he was immediately moved to the 60-day disabled list as the pitcher got off to a flying start with the Cardinals, some prematurely called the trade one-sided — not in favor of the Bombers.
But Bader quickly conquered the 40,157 players present at the Stadium.
“I felt very comfortable,” he said. “The New York fans are very nice. I love their cheering. It was just a great win. It was a great night. I felt super comfortable.
Bader scored a left single in the fifth to score Oswaldo Cabrera and tie the game at 1-1, then came back to score a go-ahead on Jose Trevino’s single.
And with the Yankees trailing 3-2 in the next inning, he hit a right two-run single to bring Josh Donaldson and Cabrera home. But what he said he will remember most are the dramas of Stanton in the ninth.
“Just the start. My first debut as a Cardinal in 2017 was a walk-off, and my Yankee debut was another walk-off. So it’s really special to be part of big wins,” Bader said. “Just a special night for all of us. It’s a big win.