CHICAGO — Before the game, Gary Sanchez said he felt good. Even more important, he said the same thing after it was over.
Sanchez, who had been on the disabled list since April 8 with a right biceps strain, started at catcher and batted third Friday afternoon. He went 0-for-4, but that was of no concern to the Yankees. What worried them occurred in the sixth inning, when Sanchez took a wicked foul ball off the mask, causing a short delay as Joe Girardi and a trainer came out to evaluate him. He stayed in the game and later said, “I feel fine.”
Despite the terrific performance of Austin Romine, Girardi is happy to have Sanchez back. “It’s another big bat that can hit the ball out of the ballpark,” he said. “It could mean a lot.”
Ellsbury returns, sort of
Jacoby Ellsbury was not in the starting lineup for a third straight game with a bruised nerve in his left elbow, though he pinch hit in the ninth inning and drew a walk.
“He took BP today and he said he felt pretty good,” said Girardi, who would not guarantee that Ellsbury will start Saturday night. “I’m still concerned a little bit about the throwing. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow with that, but he’s definitely closer.”
With Greg Bird on the DL, Chris Carter got the start at first base Friday, but Girardi indicated that DH Matt Holliday, who did not pick up a glove during spring training, will see some time there during this series.
A mighty wind
A 25-to-35-mph wind blew all afternoon, making fly balls for both teams an adventure. Aaron Judge got turned inside-out on Willson Contreras’ drive in the fifth and dropped it for a three-base error, but Michael Pineda induced two grounders to escape the jam.
“I really figured out why it’s called the Windy City,” Judge said with a smile. “Now, you just make adjustments. Make sure you don’t miss it the next time . . . I have to make that play, but good thing Big Mike picked me up there.”