NEW YORK -- Aaron Boone's first days on the job as the Yankees' manager have opened the lines of communication with many of his players, and engaging with catcher Gary Sanchez is being viewed as one of the new skipper's top priorities.Boone said that he has swapped text messages with
NEW YORK -- Aaron Boone's first days on the job as the Yankees' manager have opened the lines of communication with many of his players, and engaging with catcher Gary Sanchez is being viewed as one of the new skipper's top priorities.
Boone said that he has swapped text messages with the 25-year-old backstop, as well as several other members of the Yanks' roster. He anticipates having the opportunity to meet with Sanchez face to face at some point during the next several weeks.
"I have a priority in that [Gary's] and my relationship is important," Boone said. "I expect it to be very strong. My expectation is that he's going to be one of the great impact players on both sides of the ball for a long time to come."
• Boone: 'Amazing opportunity' ahead with Yanks
Sanchez batted .278 with 33 homers and 90 RBIs in 122 games this past season, his first full year at the big league level. But there was believed to be friction between Sanchez and former manager Joe Girardi.
In a late-June game in Chicago, cameras spotted Girardi delivering an impassioned dugout lecture to Sanchez, which the manager said was intended to get Sanchez to shift his weight better to block balls.
After an August loss in Cleveland, Girardi was even more blunt, saying that Sanchez's defense "has to improve, bottom line," before benching him for a pair of games. Sanchez's 16 passed balls tied for the Major League lead, and he saw 53 wild pitches go by him, second most in the Majors to Jonathan Lucroy.
In explaining Girardi's dismissal after the season, general manager Brian Cashman declined to specifically point to Girardi's interactions with Sanchez, but Cashman said that he had become aware that Girardi's "communication and connectivity" with the players had become a concern.
"There wasn't one very specific issue," Cashman said. "There were a number of things."
That prompted the Yanks' hiring of the 44-year-old Boone, who was formally introduced as the 33rd manager in franchise history on Wednesday. Boone said that he believes that helping Sanchez reach his performance goals will be integral to the Yankees' success in 2018.
"I think we forget how young he is and how great he's been so far," Boone said. "He's been massively successful at one of the most demanding positions in all of sports. We're going to continue to support him. We're going to continue to build our relationship so that we can grow him in every facet, because we know what an impact player he can be."
• Boone and Cashman said that they are continuing to discuss the coaching staff. Thus far, only pitching coach Larry Rothschild has been confirmed to be returning from the 2017 staff. Boone said that while a bench coach with big league managing experience would have value, it is not necessarily a prerequisite.
"I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me," Boone said. "I want a guy who can walk out into that room, and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. I want smart guys capable of connecting and impacting players."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.