When the suspensions of Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine are announced, which could happen as soon as Friday, the Yankees won’t be as shorthanded as was initially thought.
“From what I understand, I don’t think both players will be suspended at the same time,” Joe Girardi said Thursday before his team started a four-game series against the Red Sox. “So you would traditionally add a catcher in the month of September [Sept. 1 call-ups], so that should handle that.”
Sanchez was suspended for four games and Romine for two for their actions in the Aug. 24 game against the Tigers, which included three bench-clearing incidents. Both players’ appeals are expected to be heard Friday.
In preparation, the Yankees acquired minor-league catcher Erik Kratz from the Indians on Thursday for cash considerations.
Kratz, 37, has played in 225 big-league games over seven seasons, most recently in July 2016 with the Pirates. He had a .270/.359/.472 slash line, 13 home runs, 37 RBIs and 38 runs in 86 games with Triple-A Columbus this season.
Mum’s the word
General manager Brian Cashman didn’t have much to say after making a special trip to see the Nippon Ham Fighters’ Shohei Otani, a pitching and hitting star who has been called “Japan’s Babe Ruth” and in whom the Yankees have a strong interest.
“No comment. Sapporo is a beautiful city,” Cashman said, according to various Japanese news outlets.
Cashman was among talent evaluators from at least 15 teams who watched the 23-year-old allow four runs, three hits and three walks in 3 1⁄3 innings Thursday morning. Otani, who has a mid-to-high-90s fastball, struck out four. He has been limited this season because of ankle and thigh issues.
According to Japan’s Kyodo News, Cashman “said little publicly other than that Otani had talent and he had come to Japan because Japan had many players of talent.”
It is not yet a certainty that Otani will be posted this offseason.
Girardi said rookie outfielder Clint Frazier (left oblique strain) is “definitely getting closer” to a return and won’t travel with the Yankees on their upcoming three-city trip that starts Monday in Baltimore. “He will go somewhere and try to start playing [in rehab games],” Girardi said.
Girardi said Matt Holliday (lumbar strain) could return by Friday.