Rookie catcher swats pair of home runs in loss to Blue Jays
By Joshua Needelman
NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi didn't have much reason for optimism after the Yankees' 12-6 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. But before the Bombers found themselves on the wrong end of a 12-run swing, Gary Sanchez electrified Yankee Stadium.
The rookie catcher mashed the third and fourth home runs of his career, the second of which traveled 419 feet, according to Statcast™, and landed in the second deck of the left-field seats. He added an infield single in the sixth, marking the second time he's recorded at least three hits in a game this season.
"He's really good at recognizing what pitchers are trying to do to him and making adjustments," Girardi said. "He understands their repertoire. He sees pitches and he gives you tough at-bats."
Since getting called up on Aug. 3, Sanchez -- the Yankees' fifth-ranked prospect according to MLBPipeline.com -- has had no shortage of playing time despite the presence of seven-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann, who has reportedly cleared waivers. Sanchez is hitting .340 and has been in the Yankees' starting lineup each of the past four days, and he has been the catcher the last three.
Girardi isn't ready to call McCann the backup to Sanchez, though.
"Right now, it appears that way, and I can't tell you that that's going to change," Girardi said. "Gary's probably fresher at this point in the season, and we've liked what he's done. Brian's still going to catch, [Austin] Romine's still going to catch, but we're giving a lot of reps to Gary. As long as he's handling it, I'll continue to do that."
In the second inning, Sanchez stepped into the batter's box and after six pitches was rounding the bases. The same scene played out two innings later, this time with two runners on. The Yankees took a 5-0 lead.
The lead eventually turned into a deficit, and then a loss. It was a game the Yankees would like to soon forget. Perhaps Sanchez will save some room in his memory, though.
"I've been working really hard with the coaches and watching film," Sanchez said. "It's getting good results right now."
Joshua Needelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.