With Gary Sanchez Out Until At Least Late August, Yankees Explore Catching Options

gary sanchez
Seth Wenig / AP Images

According to New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, the team will be without their starting catcher, Gary Sanchez, until at least late August or possibly early September. For a team chasing down first place in their division, this is not good news. Despite the heavy baggage the Yankees have discovered comes with the talented bat Sanchez wields, this is not a loss that will be easy to overcome.

Sanchez is currently on the 10-day DL for a groin strain, in the same area as the groin strain that kept him out of 20 games during June until only a week ago. Given this is appearing to be a chronic issue, the Yankees are willing to give the injury time to heal. While a team never wants to lose their starting backstop, if it had to happen, right now is the time for it, at least from the perspective that it takes him out of the spotlight he created for all the wrong reasons.

Sanchez has had issues regarding hustle this year, as reported on Inquisitr, and he’s generally been rated as sub-par with the way he has handled the staff. He had a high profile blowout with pitcher Luis Severino during his last game in the dugout, when he botched his signals and cost the team a run with his error and lack of hustle, and possibly a win for Severino. There have been questions about his maturity and whether he really has the tools to be the kind of leader that a catcher is expected to be. Yankee skipper, Aaron Boone, told MLB.com that they were going to work through his issues.

“He’s not a finished product necessarily yet, but I think we’re all going to be a part of helping him get there.”

MLB.com reported comments from Cashman regarding the injury and expectations the team has surrounding it.

“Thankfully, what Gary has is a solvable health issue, it’s just a timing one. We’ll have to wait on it, and hopefully, we will be in a better position when he returns, which will be toward the end of August or early September.”

Until Sanchez returns, the full-time catching duties will fall on Austin Romine with Kyle Higashioka backing him up. With the offensive struggles, Sanchez has had this year posting a 0.188/0.283/0.416 slash with only 14 homers in 66 games, Romine is not going to be a major dip under that and may even get hot and provide better totals. He’ll definitely be a better defensive option, and Higashioka has the tools to be an excellent defensive option.

Given the timing of Sanchez’s injury, Cashman says the position is thin if another injury at the position arises. He thinks it is unlikely he can land a catcher to bolster their depth before the non-waiver trading deadline passes as discussed with MLB.com, but that he is comfortable with the platoon they can deploy. The Yankees had Eric Katz to back up Sanchez, but they moved him to the Brewers in late May as the position seemed solid.

“We’re clearly now thinner with our insurance on the catching side. Austin Romine has done a great job for us and I think Higashioka has done a great job coming up to be the backup. He provided some real nice pop and I think he’s one of the game’s best receivers, framers. That’s his reputation and I think he showed that in his Major League timeframe.”