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Gary Sanchez already showing he belongs with Yankees

New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez (24)

New York Yankees designated hitter Gary Sanchez (24) is congratulated by first base coach Tony Pena (56) after he hit his first career RBI against the Cleveland Indians during the fifth inning at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, New York on Friday, August 5, 2016. Credit: Steven Ryan

Gary Sanchez is one of the key pieces of the youth movement slowly taking over the Bronx.

With plenty of power and a cannon arm, Sanchez is one of the top-tier prospects whom Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has chosen not to deal away in recent seasons.

He’s part of the current rebuild, even if that particular word isn’t being used very often to describe the current state of the Yankees. But recent trades have shown the Yankees’ hand, and they’ve given youngsters such as Sanchez more opportunities to play.

The 23-year-old took advantage of his first big-league appearance behind the plate Friday night in the Yankees’ 13-7 win over the visiting Indians, throwing out two potential base- stealers in the first two innings.

“I didn’t see him get flustered at any point,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I didn’t see him get emotional. He made two good throws and helped Michael [Pineda] out early in the game.”

Sanchez went 1-for-4 with a double, a walk and two RBIs. He has hit safely in all three games since being promoted on Wednesday, demonstrating why the Yankees value him so highly.

And there’s no denying that arm. Said Mark Teixeira, “That’s a special arm right there.”

After Jason Kipnis singled with one out in the first, he broke for second and Sanchez fired a strong throw to Starlin Castro, who picked up the short hop and made the tag.

In the second, Sanchez threw out Mike Napoli attempting to steal after Napoli appeared to break late off first. The attempt caught Sanchez off guard, but the strength of his arm made up for the late reaction.

“You get confident from making two good throws like that and getting them out,” Sanchez said through an interpreter.

Pineda praised Sanchez’s work behind the plate, saying that he executed the plan well and called good pitches. Sanchez said his familiarity with Pineda from spring training helped.

Girardi said he plans to give Sanchez plenty of opportunities to catch, even with Brian McCann and Austin Romine healthy. He said it’s just a matter of “trying to figure it out.”

The Yankees have a wealth of catching knowledge in the clubhouse between McCann, Girardi and first-base coach Tony Peña. Sanchez has just been trying to take it all in.

“It’s definitely good to have them because they give me good advice,” he said. “I’m also paying close attention to McCann, seeing how he calls the game. It’s something that’s an advantage for me.”

New York Sports