HOUSTON — Speaking late in spring training in Fort Myers, Florida, Aaron Boone was clear regarding his philosophy about personal catchers.
“Bottom line is we’ve got an elite-level catcher we’re not going to sit down and get into the personal stuff,” Boone said March 22.
“Gary’s [Sanchez] going to do the bulk of the catching. I’d prefer to stay away from matching guys up,” Boone said the same day. “Because then you get into a key start late in the year, you get in a playoff situation, and all of a sudden guys haven’t been together where you’re going to ride your horses. I would prefer to stay away from it.”
But after a struggling Sonny Gray had his best start of the season Monday night against the defending champion Astros, allowing two runs and four hits in six innings in the Yankees’ 2-1 loss, Boone said he’s going to do exactly that, at least in the near future.
“Especially when the schedule dictates it,” Boone said. “I think his next start is probably that Saturday when we’re at home [against Cleveland], which will be a day game after a night game. So especially in those kind of scenarios. When it makes sense, at least in the short term, we’ll do that, and hopefully get to a point where it doesn’t matter. But in the short term, when the schedule makes sense, we’ll try to match them up.”
While not critical of Sanchez, Gray praised Romine, with whom he had success last season. The righthander had a 1.45 ERA in three starts with Romine behind the plate compared to a 4.63 ERA in eight games with Sanchez catching him in 2017.
“Ro, I think he does a great job,” Gray said when asked if he thinks he has a good connection with Romine. “Yeah, I think so.”
Romine prudently steered clear of the topic.
“I think it’s just confidence in general,” he said. “I can’t sit here and take any credit for a guy that has that kind of movement on his pitches. Really, it’s just me getting out of the way and allowing him to get into a rhythm.”