Bronxville native Harrison Bader 'excited' to have chance to win championship with Mets after signing 1-year contract with team
Harrison Bader is coming back home.
The Bronxville native said he's "excited" to have a chance to win a championship with the Mets after signing a one-year contract with the team last week.
Bader spent part of the last two seasons playing for the Yankees.
He admitted there were times in that tenure that he wondered what it would be like to play for the Mets, too.
He called the chance to play on both teams "an absolute dream come true," even with the scrutiny that comes with from fan bases who always seem to be looking for a championship.
Last season, Bader hit .232 with seven homers and 40 RBIs in 2023. He had sports hernia surgery on Sept. 28.
“I have never in my life been kicked harder in the jaw than I did kind of rolling into this offseason, purely just from an athletic standpoint - nothing emotional,” he said. “The feeling I had simply walking around my apartment, getting into cabs, walking down subway steps, that feeling is something I never want to feel again maybe until when it’s all said and done and you rip the jersey off my back and I can’t play anymore.”
Bader was limited to 86 games in 2022 by plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
He didn't make his 2023 debut until May 2 because of a strained left oblique, then went on the injured list because of a strained right hamstring and a strained right groin.
“Clearly, something was off," Bader said. "And when one thing goes, you try to compensate with speed, and then something else goes. And before you know it, you’re playing catch-up with yourself.”
Bader, a Gold Glove winner in 2021 with the Cardinals, figures to play center field on a regular basis, with Brandon Nimmo moving to left.
“I think I’ve had two months at a time, I’ve had weeks, I’ve had certainly series where I’ve definitely tapped into my potential in this league,” Bader added. “My No. 1 goal is to tap into my potential every day and see how it looks after six months at this level.”
Bader and Mets star first baseman Pete Alonso were teammates at the University of Florida in 2014 and '15.
"Pete’s really that glue to it all," Bader said.
He hopes they can both provide leadership to guide the Mets to the team's first World Series trophy since 1986.