Seven weeks after they traded him, center fielder Harrison Bader made his Yankees debut in the Bronx on Tuesday. The Bombers traded left-hander Jordan Montgomery for Bader, even though Bader hasn’t played since June because of plantar fasciitis. The New York native was excited to put the injury and rehab behind him and pitch against the Pirates at Yankee Stadium.
“I’m very happy to get on something. I’m excited to put on any major league uniform and I’m excited to go out there and compete at the major (league) level,” Bader said. “So it’s definitely a special story for me here, I’ve been here in the stands when I was younger.
“But, again, at the end of the day, we have to be efficient,” Bader said. “We’ve got to win the baseball game, so I’m just going to focus on going to the ball with clean routes, going out and just hitting my first cutoff man.”
Bader, who grew up in Bronxville and attended Horace Mann Private School, hit a career .246/.320/.409 during six seasons with the Cardinals. He has 52 career homers and 168 RBI. Bader is considered a defensive-first player, and one Cardinals official said they are willing to move him because they think he has hit a ceiling offensively.
Bader played in just 72 games this season before being sidelined by a foot problem he said had been bothering him since spring training. He spent the first seven weeks with the Yankees just trying to get back on the field.
“I mean, there’s a lot of stuff that’s been going on behind the scenes, but I’m not really going to make it any bigger than what it is,” Bader said on his return. “I know we’ve got a familiar opponent, obviously a team from the NL Central, so I’m just focused on what we have to do to win tonight and put everything I needed to get here because I went through this. It’s in the past and again, I’m just looking forward to being effective tonight.”
Bader was seventh in the lineup Tuesday night, and manager Aaron Boone was eager to see what he had in the outfielder.
“I know he’s been in business for a while. I feel like his rehab over the last week has been going really well. He managed to score a few hits. He feels like he’s moving very well. I know he’s been very encouraged over the last couple of weeks with where he’s at and how he’s feeling,” Boone said. “He felt like he was over that hump. So, I just want him to come out and play his game. And it’s to be athletic in the center of the field.”
Matt Carpenter, who has been out since Aug. 9 with a broken foot, is expected to be re-evaluated and evaluated this week.
“He is scheduled for x-rays and scans this week. And then hopefully it shows enough healing where we can start to make progress, but I don’t know what day it is,” Boone said. “But it’s scheduled for this week.”
Carpenter’s left-hander has given the Bombers a big push and their second-half struggles coincide with him being injured.
Right-hander Scott Efros of Illinois was expected to go off the injured list Wednesday night with a sprained right shoulder.
Michael King, who is out for the season with a broken elbow, said he is scheduled for an MRI on his elbow Thursday. He was unable to straighten his elbow, so initial scans of the joint did not definitively show whether or not the ulnar collateral ligament was damaged.
“Four out of five doctors think it’s OK, but we do it just to make sure,” King said.
Any significant ligament damage would require King to undergo Tommy John surgery.