The Yankees may go to Brian McCann at some point and ask him to waive his no-trade clause. Or, if Gary Sanchez keeps hitting monstrous home runs, McCann may go to the Yankees and ask for a ticket out of town.
Sanchez, who even Joe Girardi can’t deny has moved ahead of McCann as the Yankees’ No. 1 catcher, smashed two long home runs and drove in four runs in the first four innings of Tuesday night’s game against the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.
The 23-year-old Sanchez hit a solo shot into the Toronto bullpen in the second inning and followed that up with a towering three-run homer to the second deck in left in the fourth.
Sanchez’s second shot was a true rainmaker. After the ball came down, the skies over the Stadium darkened and a rain delay began after the top of the fifth with the Yankees leading 5-0. Play resumed 42 minutes later, and the Yankees added another run on Didi Gregorius’ single in the fifth.
But the delay cost starter Michael Pineda, who had thrown five shutout innings. Anthony Swarzak allowed two home runs and four runs in the sixth, and Adam Warren gave up a tying, two-run homer to Edwin Encarnacion in the eighth as the Blue Jays erased a 6-0 deficit and scored eight times to take a 12-6 lead.
Pineda allowed four hits, walked none and struck out two. He threw 68 pitches. Swarzak allowed four runs on four hits, including back-to-back home runs to Troy Tulowitzki (two-run shot) and Russell Martin.
Gregorius drove in the Yankees’ first run with a home run to right in the first.
Both of Sanchez’s home runs were against righthander Marco Estrada. Sanchez, who also had an infield hit, was 16-for-46 (. 348) with four home runs and 10 RBIs after his first three at-bats.
McCann was the designated hitter. It won’t be the last time.
When Girardi was asked before the game if McCann is now a backup, he said: “Not necessarily. Right now, it appears that way, and I can’t tell you that that’s going to change . . . We like what [Sanchez] has done. Brian’s going to catch, [Austin] Romine’s still going to catch, but we’re giving a lot of reps to Gary. As long as he’s handling it, I’ll continue to do that and then Brian will DH more.”
The Yankees could look to deal McCann in the offseason, although he has a no-trade clause and is signed through 2018 at $17 million per season, with a $15-million vesting option for 2019.
Fanragsports.com reported Aug. 7 that McCann had cleared waivers and can be traded — but only with his say-so. The Yankees talked with the Braves — McCann’s old team — before the Aug. 1 nonwaiver trade deadline, but the 32-year-old stayed in pinstripes as the sides did not reach a deal.
Those talks could be revived if the Yankees think Sanchez is as ready to assume the No. 1 job as he has appeared to be since he was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Aug. 3 as part of the Yankees’ burgeoning youth movement.
Girardi, who as a former catcher values the defensive part of a backstop’s game, has been impressed with Sanchez’s handling of pitchers and his throwing.
“We have been very pleased with what he has done,” Girardi said before citing Sanchez’s work in the Yankees’ 1-0 victory over the Blue Jays on Monday.
“To have a shutout at an early age like that against a club like that — obviously the people on the mound have to make the pitches — but I thought he did a very good job with his pitch selection,” Girardi said.