Finally, Joe Girardi decided, it was time to give Gary Sanchez a rest.
The rookie catcher did not start Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays, his first off day since Aug. 12. Since becoming an everyday player Aug. 3 — primarily at catcher but as a designated hitter when not behind the plate — Wednesday marked just the third full day off for the 23-year-old.
“I can’t play him 17 days in a row, I’m just not going to be able to do that,” Girardi said. “As much as I would love to run him out there 17 days in a row . . . and maybe if he was just DHing I could do that, but yesterday was a long game and I just think like he needed a day.”
Girardi described Sanchez as “run down,” though there wasn’t anything he saw with his own eyes.
“Just in talking to people, they felt that he’s had some long days and he could use a day,” Girardi said.
Sanchez has cooled since the torrid start that netted him back-to-back Player of the Week awards in August and Player of the Month honors. Entering Wednesday, Sanchez had a still-impressive slash line of .348/.423/.713, with 11 homers and 21 RBIs, but a .194/.306/.226 slash line, with zero homers and zero RBI, in his previous eight games.
“I think some of the pitches he’s had, he’s missed,” Girardi said. “Where he didn’t miss any for that two or three-week period [after his call-up]. I think it’s just things kind of correcting themselves because hitters just don’t hit like that forever.”
Judge sits too
Struggling rookie rightfielder Aaron Judge — 25 strikeouts in his previous 37 at-bats — also received a day off, replaced in right by rookie Tyler Austin.
“I think that can help sometimes,” Girardi said.
Break for Betances
Dellin Betances, who worked three straight games, including Tuesday when he threw 40 pitches in a two-run ninth inning he couldn’t get out of, also was expected to be given off Wednesday.