WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Here’s something Aaron Boone probably didn’t figure on addressing in early June: whether Gary Sanchez has turned into a good-field, no-hit catcher.
Sanchez has only been charged with one passed ball this month. But that’s one more home run than the Yankees’ previously slugging catcher has hit in June. In fact, Sanchez hasn’t gone deep since he hit two homers on May 19.
Sanchez went 0-for-4 as the cleanup hitter in Sunday night’s 2-0 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. Sanchez was the final batter of the game. He lined out to third base and Greg Bird was doubled off first to give the Yankees their first loss against the Mets since 2016.
On Monday, Boone said what he’s been saying all along: that he isn’t overly concerned about Sanchez’s struggles.
“I really don’t worry about it,” Boone said. “I feel like if we’re talking about this a month from now, a couple months from now, it will be a bump in the road from him . . . He’s just too talented of a player, too good a player, too special a hitter for it to go on long.”
Although the Yankees manager believes it’s a matter of time until Sanchez’s numbers return to the marks of his first year-and-a-half in the majors, the catcher has struggled this month. Sanchez finished hitless in 11 at-bats against the Mets, striking out four times while drawing one walk.
Sanchez has a slash line of .069/.156/.103 in June and hit .222 in May. He’s hitting .190 with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs this season.
Boone was speaking from Mohawk Day Camp on the first day of the Yankees’ Hope Week charitable efforts. He said he wants Sanchez to have the right approach at the plate.
“Sometimes when you’re pressing a little bit or going through a tough time, you kind of chase the result,” Boone said. “And you’ve got to get away from that because that’s when pitchers take advantage of your aggressiveness.”
Sanchez has played in all but seven games for the Yankees during their major league-best 42-19 start. The Yankees open a two-game series against the Nationals at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
Boone said he doesn’t speak to Sanchez about mechanics — he leaves that to the hitting coaches — but just doesn’t want the 25-year-old pressing in the batter’s box.
“I feel like he’s a lot closer,” Boone said. “I feel it’s more of him missing some pitches he usually hits. Timing wise and everything, he’s actually OK. He’s just popping [pitches] off, fouling them back.”
Sanchez’s teammates also aren’t concerned about their catcher, who hit 53 homers in his first 175 games and entered this season with a career .284 batting average.
“He’s still a young player and for me, [Sanchez] has a chance to be the best catcher in the game,” Brett Gardner said. “I know the first couple months of the season maybe haven’t gone exactly the way that he would have hoped, but he’s still got quite a few big homers for us.”
Gardner also thinks back to his tough start of the season — he was hitting .210 at the end of April — along with Didi Gregorius’ tough May as just being natural over the course of a long season.
“Didi just went through it, I had a terrible April, [Aaron] Judge has struggled at times, [Giancarlo] Stanton has struggled at times, right on down the list,” Gardner said. “It’s just the game of baseball . . . Sometimes you can make things too complicated and you can almost work too hard, so I think the more you can keep things simple and just go up there with a good plan and prepared, that’s all you can do.”
Pitching matchups. CC Sabathia will face Tanner Roark on Tuesday. Sonny Gray will start on Wednesday against a Nationals starter to be determined. It won’t be Max Scherzer. He pitched on Sunday.
With Anthony Rieber