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Gary Sanchez making progress as regular season nears

"I feel like he's really catching well," Boone said. "I feel like he's in command back there, especially when we have our [major league] pitchers out there. 

Yankees Catcher Gary Sanchez catches Luis Severino (Not

Yankees Catcher Gary Sanchez catches Luis Severino (Not Pictured) on the field at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa during spring training on Feb. 14, 2019. Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

As a precaution, the Yankees held Gary Sanchez out of games until about a week into camp to give his left shoulder, which was operated on in the offseason, some extra time. The catcher, noticeably slimmer, hasn’t gotten it going offensively – he’s hitting .222 with a .237 on-base percentage in 12 games – but has shown progress behind the plate. On Friday night against the Phillies, Sanchez made a nice block on a ball in the dirt and threw out two runners.

“I feel like he’s really catching well,” Boone said. “I feel like he’s in command back there, especially when we have our [major league] pitchers out there. I feel his receiving and blocking’s been really good. Really happy where he’s at at this point this spring. I feel he’s ready to get it rolling.”

Sanchez likes where he’s at. “One thing I’ve been working on is commanding the strike zone as a hitter and building on good at-bats,” he said through his translator. “I think I’ve been able to do that this spring. It’s something I want to continue to build on.”

Tarpley wins Dawson

Lefthanded reliever Stephen Tarpley, a September call-up last year whose 0.00 ERA in 10 appearances in spring training has him in line to win a roster spot when camp breaks Sunday, was presented the James P. Dawson Award before Saturday’s game. The award is given annually to the club’s most outstanding rookie in spring training. Tarpley, 26, was one of two players to be named in the Aug. 1, 2016 trade that sent righthander Ivan Nova to the Pirates (outfielder Tito Polo was the other).

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