(Busch Stadium) After spending the last few days taking extra batting practice before games, Harrison Bader finds himself back in the starting lineup today for the St. Louis Cardinals.
“I feel good,” Bader said. “The biggest thing when you’re not starting every day is to keep your body ready. Whether I’m called upon in the first inning, like I get a chance to start today, or later in the game you just do everything you can. Just prepare and stay ready. The other BP was to just kind of keep the feel going, keep the rhythm flowing and everything. Everything feels good, so I’m excited to go out there and help contribute to a big win for us.”
While he has appeared in every game since the All-Star break, this is the first start for Bader since July 21st. A good performance could certainly lead to another start, but there’s a need to resist any temptation to go out and try to force the issue.
“You definitely don’t want to go out there and do that,” Bader agreed. “You can’t really make up lost time, especially in this game because you get out of your approach and the most important thing, which is clearing your mind and doing your best to contribute.”
Defensively, Bader still ranks first in MLB with a .960 zone rating, 9.4 ultimate zone rating for centerfield, and his three 5-Star catches are tied for the most. But at the plate, he enters the day hitless in his last ten at-bats.
“I’m not going up there selfishly trying to take at-bats to try and make up stats I may have missed earlier in the year,” Bader continued. “I’m perfectly aware of what’s kind of going on with everything with regards to me individually and I understand that the most important part is again, finding a way to just have good at-bats. Clearing my mind and doing everything I can to kind of pass the baton. Via a walk or work a ten pitch at-bat, even if it might result in a strikeout, the whole point is to continue have a good at-bat and pass the baton to my teammates.
“And obviously defensively, go out there and do what I do—track the ball down, throw to the right base, and do what I need to do to just contribute. I can do it in a number of ways on all sides of the baseball, I’m just looking forward to going out there and doing that today.”
So how does Bader go about clearing his mind?
“I find comfort in just getting between those white lines,” he smiled. “When I’m between the white lines, no one can touch me—no one can get to me. I’m out there with my teammates. I’m doing something that I’ve always done in my life and that’s my ultimate comfort zone…so I’m just looking forward to getting in my comfort zone today.”
Tommy Edman, 3B
Jose Martinez, RF
Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Tyler O’Neill, LF
Paul DeJong, SS
Matt Wieters, C
Harrison Bader, CF
Kolten Wong, 2B
Dakota Hudson, P
GYORKO HEADED TO MEMPHIS
–Infielder Jedd Gyorko will begin a rehab assignment with the Memphis Redbirds (AAA) on Tuesday.
“More than anything it will be timing,” Gyorko said. “Just getting my timing back. I’ve been taking BP, everything feels pretty good. The calf feels really good and the wrist feels better than it did before, so ready to go.”
Initially placed on the Injured List on June 8th with a lower back strain, Gyorko later tweaked his calf and had a surgical procedure on his wrist while out of action. Earlier indications put his return much later in the season.
“I’m not sure where you were getting the other reports, I read some stuff about having a setback and whatever, but it wasn’t from me,” Gyorko said. “I feel like the wrist has been—I think they said six weeks and we’re a little bit ahead of that.”
How long and how many positions Gyorko plays while in Memphis is yet to be determined.
“If I feel like I’m ready to come back, then I’ll let them know and we’ll see what happens,” Gyorko said.
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY