LONDON — From the time pitchers and catchers reported in February, Gary Sanchez said his awful 2018 season, which was plagued by poor health and poor play, was something he had put behind him.
That was a nice thought, but performance had to follow for that to really happen — both in his mind and in the minds of Yankees fans.
Getting voted to start in this year’s All-Star Game might have done that.
“It feels great,” Sanchez said Friday through a translator after the Yankees worked out at London Stadium. “It kind of tells me that that bad year from last year is behind me, well behind me. And I’m happy about it.”
Sanchez, drastically better on defense this season, enters this weekend’s series in London hitting .266 with 23 homers — second in the American League to teammate Edwin Encarnacion — 52 RBIs and a .939 OPS in 60 games.
Don’t forget DJ
DJ LeMahieu, whose signing in the offseason created more shrugs from Yankees fans than not, was voted the starting second baseman for the American League All-Star team. LeMahieu, hitting .336 with a .906 OPS, finally might be putting to rest the idea that his career offensive numbers have been enhanced by hitter-friendly Coors Field.
“I’ve always thought that,” the three-time All-Star said of being able to hit anywhere. “I’ve always had confidence I’d be a pretty good hitter no matter where.”
He’ll think about it
Sanchez said he has been asked by Major League Baseball to participate in the Home Run Derby but has not made up his mind.
“I don’t have a definite answer right now,” he said. “I have to talk to my wife and my agent about it.”
The winner of the Derby gets a $1-million bonus. Sanchez, who participated in the 2017 Derby and upset Giancarlo Stanton in the first round, will make $670,000 in salary this season.
All players on the London trip receive a $60,000 bonus, not an insignificant amount for minor-leaguers such as Kyle Higashioka, Thairo Estrada and Chance Adams, who were roster additions for the series . . . Replays for both games will be handled on site here and not at MLB’s replay operations headquarters in Chelsea . . . MLB announced late Friday afternoon that Prince Harry will attend Saturday’s game.