Yankees fans happy to see Kyle Higashioka make history early in Padres tenure

St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres
St. Louis Cardinals v San Diego Padres / Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/GettyImages

Though New York Yankees fans aren't exactly missing the departed players from last year's team, it's not the worst thing in the world to cheer on those who wore the pinstripes well. Kyle Higashioka was one of them.

The former Yankees starter (who took over for Gary Sánchez) -- and then backup (when he lost his job to Jose Trevino) -- ended up in San Diego this offseason after being dealt in the Juan Soto trade. Everyone either saw a trade or a non-tender coming due to the emergence of Austin Wells.

But Higgy teetered on being a fan favorite. He was at least someone the fans had a positive viewpoint towards, given he filled his role nicely and was Gerrit Cole's chosen personal catcher.

He remains a backup in San Diego -- behind Luis Campusano, who is one of the hottest hitters in the league -- but Higashioka has gotten some playing time, and he actually propelled the team to victory on Wednesday.

Higgy belted a solo homer (his first of the year) in what proved to be a crucial insurance run in the Padres' 3-2 victory over the Cardinals.

Yankees fans happy to see Kyle Higashioka make history early in Padres tenure

That's not all, though! Higgy also threw out two runners in the top half of the frame to keep the Cards at bay. He caught both Brendan Donovan and Nolan Arenado trying to steal second base. That really stopped a rally, because Willson Contreras, who was hitting after Donovan, doubled, and then Arenado singled. That would've been a tie game, and possibly more of a rally with Nolan Gorman at the plate.

In summation, Higgy threw out two runners and hit a homer in the same inning. He subtracted at least a run from St. Louis and added one for the Pads. And how about it? He was just the second catcher in the last 45 years to pull that off.

The last? Former Gold Glover Bengie Molina (but during his time with the Angels)!

Higgy might not have been the most memorable Yankee, but he offered good vibes, a surprisingly power-packed bat, and reliable defense than fans were yearning for after Sánchez's struggles behind the plate.

Hopefully the folks out west are appreciating his presence and contributions so they can feel a little bit better about giving us Soto.