Yanks' Sanchez returns to Futures Game

Club's No. 3 prospect started at catcher for Team World

Yanks' Sanchez returns to Futures Game

SAN DIEGO -- Gary Sanchez has received two brief tastes of life in the big leagues, and the power-hitting backstop had another chance to show off his promising skills on Sunday at Petco Park, when he participated in the 2016 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

This is the second consecutive Futures Game selection for Sanchez, who also represented the Yankees last summer in Cincinnati as a member of the World Team. Sanchez, ranked as the Yankees' No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, went 0-for-2 as Team World's starting catcher. Still, his team beat Team U.S., 11-3, to earn its first Futures Game victory in seven years.

"If I work hard, anything could happen in the future," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "What I need to worry about is that wherever I go, I need to keep working and keep improving, keep getting better and hopefully one day make the [big league] team."

Viewed as the front-runner to serve as Brian McCann's backup entering this season, Sanchez lost a competition to Austin Romine after managing just two hits in 22 spring at-bats. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Sanchez, 23, has the upside to be a big league regular.

"There was a lot of talk that he was going to be the backup, and we were really encouraged about the way he played last year, last fall," Girardi said. "It was probably a guy trying to do too much and trying too hard in Spring Training. That happens. It happens all the time."

Box score

Sanchez vowed to take a good attitude with him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he has played in 56 games, hitting .286 (66-for-231) with 28 runs, 18 doubles, one triple, nine homers, 37 RBIs, five steals and 12 walks.

"I tried to shorten the swing and make better contact with the ball," said Sanchez, who missed some time after fracturing his right thumb on a foul tip in May. "It's given me good results."

Sanchez has caught nine of 24 runners attempting to steal (38 percent) and appeared in one game with the Yankees this season, going 0-for-4 in a May 13 contest against the White Sox. He also logged two at-bats as a late-season callup last year, and he is still seeking his first Major League hit.

"My time here was brief last year, but during the time that I was here, I learned how to prepare better for the game and even learned a lot from just watching the guys play," Sanchez said. "We have a lot of veterans here. It's a lot of good experience for me."

Jorge Mateo, the Yankees' No. 1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was initially selected to accompany Sanchez to the Futures Game but did not attend. The 21-year-old is serving a two-week suspension for what the Yankees said was a violation of team policy.

The SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, now 18 years old, once again featured the top Minor League prospects competing in a contest as part of All-Star Sunday. The U.S. Team leads the all-time series, 11-7.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.