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Aaron Boone giving slumping Gary Sanchez some time off

Manager says he’s taking opportunity for catcher to get refreshed physically and that he will not be in starting lineup Tuesday or Wednesday.

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez watches from the dugout

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez watches from the dugout during the second inning of a game against the Nationals on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. Photo Credit: AP / Bill Kostroun

Aaron Boone knows how giving Gary Sanchez a three-day break looks.

That the manager essentially is giving the struggling catcher a brief hiatus to clear his head.

Boone said that is not the case.

“He’s good to play but overall I feel like he’s a little banged up and maybe that’s leaking [into his performance] a little bit,” Boone said before the Yankees played the Nationals Tuesday night at the Stadium.

Boone cited the “wear and tear” a catcher experiences during the course of a season in explaining how Sanchez is banged up. Sanchez missed two games in April after experiencing cramping in his right calf.

“Whether it’s shoulder, knee, calf, it’s just all . . . he’s fine, he’s good to play,” Boone said. “I think a chance to spend a few days and [have] a little bit of rest and recovery and doing some work, too, hopefully is something that refreshes him physically.”

Sanchez, who entered Tuesday slashing .190/.291/.430 with a more-than-respectable 12 homers and 35 RBIs, also will get Wednesday off as Austin Romine will catch Sonny Gray, which he has done most of the season. (The Yankees were off on Monday).

Boone said that Sanchez “fought” him on the break.

“He said, ‘I’m fine, I want to be in there,’” Boone said. “I just kind of explained to him my thinking and hopefully it will be a good opportunity for him to retool physically.”

Sanchez, whom many inside and outside the Yankees see as the most complete hitter in the organization, said while “a couple days off does good to the body,” his preference is to play.

“I did not expect it,” Sanchez said through his translator of the off day. “When I got here I spoke to Boone and he told me that was the plan to have a couple days off and I respect his decision.’

While Boone indicated some of the physical issues might be “contributing” to Sanchez’s slump, the catcher, who hit .278 and slugged .531 with 33 homers and 90 RBIs last season, didn’t use them as an alibi.

“The reason why I’m not hitting is because I’m missing pitches that I normally hit, that’s the main reason,” Sanchez said. “There’s been pitches that I don’t miss and unfortunately I’ve been missing those.”

Why does he think he’s missing them?

“Maybe I’m overthinking a little too much,” Sanchez said. “I’ve swung at some pitcher’s pitches. But I’m sure I’m going to get through this. This is what happens in a slump; you get a really good pitch to hit and either you miss it or you hit it really hard and right at somebody. But that’s part of baseball. Slumps are part of baseball and the same way they begin, they end.”

Sanchez said this is the worst slump he’s ever been through at any level.

“This is probably the longest ever, no doubt about that,” he said. “But I feel good. I know if I stay healthy, [I’ll be] where I should be. I have full confidence in me. I should be fine.”

That attitude is among the reasons Boone has little doubt success is coming.

“The one thing he never loses is his confidence because he’s such a gifted hitter, so I think he wants to get in there because he wants to get it going and expects to get it going,” said Boone, again reiterating it’s not a mental break. “So less about that, obviously, with him because I don’t worry about his mindset. I feel like that [getting going] with him certainly is right around the corner . . . it’s going to happen. He’s too talented for it to not.”

New York Sports