CINCINNATI — The scary part for upcoming Yankees opponents?
The Bombers have been destroying the baseball much of the season without significant contributions at the plate from Gary Sanchez.
And there is a strong indication that’s changing.
“I definitely think he’s coming out of it,” Joe Girardi said of the 24-year-old’s slump to start the season.
As if on cue, the catcher went deep in his first at-bat Tuesday night, launching Tim Adleman’s full-count fastball deep into the seats in left for his second homer of the season to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead two batters into the game. Sanchez went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
When Sanchez went to the DL April 8 with a right biceps strain, he was hitting .150 with a .190 on-base percentage, with one homer and two RBIs.
But entering Tuesday, Sanchez was 6-for-12 with three RBIs and two runs since returning from the DL Friday in Chicago. Most impressive to Girardi had been Sanchez’s four walks in the span.
“He’s been patient, he’s been taking his walks,” Girardi said. “I thought his plate discipline was pretty good last year. Pitchers have to really think about how much you want to challenge this kid because he can do some damage.”
As Adleman quickly discovered yesterday.
Headley, Hicks PH duty
Chase Headley, whom Girardi already had planned to rest last night, took a 93-mph fastball off his right knee in the seventh inning of Monday’s victory. The third baseman said he went to bed “pretty sore” but was surprised how much better he felt Tuesday morning.
“Sometimes you wake up and things feel twice as bad as they did before,” said Headley who lined out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning Tuesday night. “I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t. I was happy it wasn’t worse.”
Aaron Hicks, who grounded out as a pinch hitter last night, got hit in the right foot in Monday’s seventh — Reds reliever Drew Storen hit three batters and walked one in the wild inning — and was also sore. “He’s got some bruising on his foot,” Girardi said.
n Bird watch
The plan for first baseman Greg Bird, put on the DL last week with a right ankle bruise, has not changed. He still will stay off the ankle a full 10 days before resuming baseball activities. “We’ll probably evaluate him on Thursday and see where he’s at,” Girardi said.