Kyle Higashioka is not letting his recent trade from the New York Yankees to the San Diego Padres sour his sentiments toward the franchise that gave him his start in the MLB.
Higashioka Raves About Yankees Tenure in Recent Interview
Per Jimmy Hascup of NJ.com, Higashioka recently reflected on his time with the Yankees and what it meant for him to enjoy such a long career in the Bronx, saying:
“I saw like there was a huge amount of support on social media from the fans, and I honestly, I had no idea that I had, you know, so many people like me or whatever,” Higashioka said. “I’m incredibly grateful and I’ll always cherish my time in New York. It’s incredible to have that kind of support from them.”
Higashioka played all seven seasons of his major league career with the Yankees. The veteran catcher scored 94 runs, hit 40 home runs, and produced 121 RBIs to go along with a .210/.253/.394 slash line in 858 at-bats.
He only played in 72 games over the course of his first four years but gradually found his way into the rotation beginning in 2021. In his last three seasons with the Yankees, Higashioka averaged 10 home runs and 31.3 RBI’ a year.
Higashioka helped the Yankees reach the playoffs six times and connected with Gerrit Cole throughout his 2023 AL Cy Young Award-winning campaign. Higashioka spoke glowingly about his experience catching for Cole after the latter was officially awarded, and delved into how Cole’s leadership and work ethic not only rubbed off on the younger players on the roster but himself as well.
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Higashioka Not Worried About Commemorative Gestures Upon Returning to Yankee Stadium
Now a member of the San Diego Padres, Higashioka has nothing but love for a Yankees franchise that helped him cultivate his game from the minors all the way to the biggest stages of the MLB. When asked if he deserves a thank you video when he returns to Yankee Stadium in 2025, Higashioka humbly answered “I don’t think so.”
Higashioka will now compete for time at catcher in San Diego alongside Luis Campusano and Brett Sullivan. He brings postseason experience and a .987 fielding percentage to a Padres team looking to enter a new phase in the wake of trading Soto and potentially losing ace Blake Snell, superstar closer Josh Hader, and last season’s starting catcher Gary Sanchez before the offseason is said and done.