Harrison Bader said that he has blocked out any of the chatter questioning the Yankees’ decision to acquire him in a trade-deadline deal that sent Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals. While Bader is recovering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot and has yet to put on the pinstripes, Montgomery has been thriving on the mound for the playoff-bound Cardinals.
Bader was told by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal that many fans view the trade as lopsided.
“Is that what they’re saying?” Bader responded. “I haven’t seen that. Stuff like that is not going to help my rehab go any faster. And in a time when you’re trying to get back, as much as it is physical, there is an element to the subconscious. It’s a career. It’s important. I’m not taking my time, not going slowly by any means. We’re going to do it right.”
Bader was viewed by the Yankees as a significant defensive upgrade in center field and took the risk of acquiring him knowing it would be weeks or months before he could actually play. Bader is now rehabbing at Double-A and his Yankees debut is inching closer to reality.
In three games thus far for the Somerset Patriots, Bader is 3-for-11 with a home run. The latest timeline had his Yankees debut coming next Tuesday for the start of a homestand against the Pirates.
“The [Yankees] trainers did an incredible job keeping my mind going, allowing me to get some frustration out talking about it. We did a really good job every single day, staying focused, staying super disciplined,” the 28-year-old Bader told the website.
“You fast forward to now, I’ve got a serious stretch ahead of me where we could do some real damage, on a team that is contending for a World Series. Which is awesome. For some time there, I thought my season might be lost. The pain was pretty intense. To be in this position is just great. I’m just grateful. I really am.”
Bader’s arrival will be welcomed in The Bronx, where despite a lengthy funk the Yankees are six games up in the AL East.
Andrew Benintendi, the Yankees’ other significant trade-deadline acquisition in the outfield, is out with a wrist injury that could cost him the rest of the season. Aaron Hicks has had a nightmare season and will likely be pushed back to the bench full-time once Bader is healthy.
“I’m going out there to be a total player,” Bader said. “Not that I needed it by any means, but being traded puts a lot into perspective for you. It lights a lot of fires. It definitely lit something under me. Having the ability to control your own narrative in a new place is something I just cannot be more excited about.”