Girardi hints Sanchez may be primary catcher

Girardi hints Sanchez may be primary catcher

NEW YORK -- It's still unclear, but the Yankees may have a new primary catcher.

After seeing rookie catcher Gary Sanchez hit three home runs in a three-game span, manager Joe Girardi bumped the youngster up into the cleanup spot for Wednesday's game, a 7-4 loss to the Blue Jays in which he homered again, and insinuated that Sanchez is primed to get a majority of the starts behind the plate moving forward.

"We're going to still see [Brian McCann] DHing," Girardi said. "I'm going to catch Sanchez."

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That said, when asked point blank whether that meant Sanchez will take over for McCann full time, Girardi backtracked a bit and redefined his comments.

"I'm not ready to put that on [Sanchez] yet," Girardi continued. "As I said, they're all going to catch. It's a day-by-day thing here. That's what we've been doing for a long time, and we'll see how it goes."

In addition to McCann and Sanchez, Girardi also has a third catcher, Austin Romine, at his disposal. Since Aug. 5, Sanchez's first career game as a catcher, McCann has only caught once, but he has served as the designated hitter seven times -- a position now available thanks to Alex Rodriguez's release and the trade of Carlos Beltran. Since that same date, Romine has caught three games and filled in twice as a defensive replacement at first base. Counting Wednesday's start -- in which he homered in his first at-bat -- Sanchez has caught eight times.

"When you come to the park, you want to be prepared," Sanchez said. "I take a look at the sheet. If I'm playing, great. If not, I've still got to be ready to play. So I come here ready to do my job."

Due to the lack of experience that Sanchez has behind the plate, Girardi was not willing to commit to whether he believes Sanchez is his best defensive backstop. That said, he has repeatedly said that he's impressed with how well Sanchez has performed at the position, especially in how well he's received pitches and called games for veteran pitchers.

With three catchers on his roster, it's plausible that Girardi could feel hamstrung by the limitations. But that's not the case.

"We're playing some younger players. We get that. But we feel that they're going to contribute, and that's why they're playing," Girardi said. "Everyone in that room wants to win. I think they understand. Mac is OK DHing and catching once in a while. He understands that this is what we're doing. So I think they're all in."

Worth noting

• The Yankees recalled relief pitcher Kirby Yates from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Wednesday morning for some relief help after the team used six relievers in Tuesday's loss. To counter the move, the Yankees optioned Chasen Shreve to Triple-A.

Nick Suss 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.