PITTSBURGH — Gary Sanchez is slowly but steadily ramping up his baseball activities.
The catcher, on the disabled list since April 8 with a right biceps strain, threw at 60 feet and then 90 feet before Saturday afternoon’s game. He also took some swings, both off a tee and in tee-and-toss drills, for the first time during his rehab.
“I think everything is going the way we want it,” Sanchez said through his translator. “The plan is working very well. I don’t have any pain or discomfort. I feel good.”
The next steps for Sanchez will include throwing at 120 feet and taking batting practice on the field.
“I don’t think he’s too far from that [batting practice],” said Joe Girardi, who watched Sanchez throw Saturday.
Indications are that BP could take place early this week when the Yankees are at Fenway Park and that rehab games could follow soon after.
The four-week timetable laid out for Sanchez since his injury has remained consistent, and nothing Saturday changed that. Still, he isn’t doing anything to rush through any of the steps set out for him.
“I feel physically good, but at the same time, I haven’t taken a full swing [with] full effort, and I haven’t thrown to the bases yet,” he said. “Once I get through that, I’ll be able to say if I feel 100 percent. But I have to get to that point first. It’s important we take it slow. We have to follow the process.”
Redemption for Castro
A disappointed Starlin Castro stood in front of his locker late Friday night and said of the Yankees’ 6-3 loss: “It’s my fault.”
Not solely, but the second baseman’s dropped pop-up with two outs in the seventh inning certainly was damaging. It allowed one run to score and set up a second run, turning a 4-3 game into a 6-3 contest.
Castro made up for it Saturday, crushing a three-run homer in the sixth inning that tied the score at 3, perhaps the key hit of the afternoon.
“It’s over. That day is already over,” Castro said of his mindset when he showed up for work Saturday. “I just came here and tried to do my best and forgot about the bad thing that happened [the night] before.”
Castro has four home runs, tied for second on the club, and 13 RBIs, tied for first.
Joe Girardi said before Saturday’s game that he felt Greg Bird was “really close” to breaking out of his season-starting slump.
It didn’t happen in the Yankees’ 11-5 victory. Bird went 0-for-4 and fell to 5-for-45 (.111) to start the season with a .216 on-base percentage.
Still, he did fly out to the warning track twice — to left in the second inning and to right in the eighth.
“I just think his at-bats have been pretty good,” Girardi said earlier in the day. “I think he’s hit the ball hard. Some of them have been foul, but I think he’s hit the ball pretty good. He seems to be centering some balls up.”
On Friday night, Bird nearly missed hitting a pair of three-run homers, with both balls hooking foul at the last moment.
“I sensed he was a little frustrated earlier on. I don’t sense that now,” Girardi said. “I think he’s in a pretty good spot.”