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Harrison Bader excited to make playoffs with Reds

Harrison Bader is back in New York this weekend for the first time since being waived by the Yankees.

And whatever the outfielder and Bronxville native felt after being cut by his hometown team, he replaces it with the excitement of going from meaningless September baseball to the thick of a chase.

“No, you just reserve the emotions as best you can in a given situation and focus on what’s in front of you, which is playing meaningful baseball throughout the month of September,” a Bader told the Post before his Reds beat the Mets 3-2. in front of 32,633 people at Citi Field.

“Obviously for a different organization, but as long as you just focus on the ball, which is my main goal, all the emotion goes out the window. So I’m going to think about it in the offseason, re-evaluate and go from there. But right now, there’s too much going on to focus on anything other than playing quality baseball to help this team win.

It’s rare for a player to move up in the rankings by moving from the Bronx to Cincinnati, but that’s how the season went for the Yankees.

Harrison Bader steals second base after Jeff McNeil fails to hold on to the pitch in the eighth inning of the Mets’ 3-2 loss to the Reds.
Jason Szenes for the New York Post

Bader, who went to Horace Mann High School in Riverdale, a few miles from the stadium, was acquired by the Yankees in a 2022 deadline deal that sent Jordan Montgomery to St. Louis. Bader had won a 2021 NL Gold Glove and was praised for his center field defense.

His five homers in nine playoff games for the Yankees last year were the icing on the cake.

But a litany of injuries conspired to undo his pinstripe tenure, from plantar fasciitis to a left oblique strain to a right hamstring strain. Ultimately, he had a slash line of just .237/.274/.353 in 98 games for the Yankees before being waived on August 29.

Sitting in the visitors’ dining room that day before the Yankees played in Detroit, he saw his name on the crawl at the bottom of the television screen.

“I had no idea,” Bader told the Post. “No not at all.”

The Yankees cleared the remainder of Bader’s $5.2 million contract and also freed up room for Jasson Dominguez. The highly touted prospect was recalled on September 1, but two days later he felt discomfort in his right elbow and was diagnosed with a torn UCL on September 10.

Meanwhile, Bader was claimed off waivers by the Reds. Although the Yankees are six games out of a wild card spot, Cincinnati is in a deadlock with Arizona for the final NL spot.

Bader replaced Joey Votto with two outs in the top of the eighth inning Saturday. He stole second and took third on an error by second baseman Jeff McNeil, but got stranded there.

He stayed in center field, drawing one out in the ninth to help close out the victory.

“Yeah, it’s great,” Bader told the Post. “This league is awesome. Everything is relative to those around you and the surrounding teams. So to be thrust into a situation where there is meaningful baseball throughout the month of September is good. It means a lot. This keeps you focused, motivated and hungry.

“And when you think about what can happen once we get to October, if we get there, special things can really happen.” So I’m really excited to be here and continue on this path with these guys.

New York Post

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