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Sanchez busts out of slump with two homers

April 11, 2018

BOSTON -- Having studied Gary Sanchez's at-bats over the last week or so, Yankees manager Aaron Boone repeatedly mentioned that his catcher was "really close" to busting out. Two homers and four RBIs later, it is safe to say that Boone nailed that prediction.Mired in a 2-for-36 (.056) start and

BOSTON -- Having studied Gary Sanchez's at-bats over the last week or so, Yankees manager Aaron Boone repeatedly mentioned that his catcher was "really close" to busting out. Two homers and four RBIs later, it is safe to say that Boone nailed that prediction.
Mired in a 2-for-36 (.056) start and hitless in his last 15 at-bats, Sanchez helped the Yankees to a 10-7 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park, cracking a pair of two-run homers and a double.
"I think he's really close now," Boone said, with a laugh. "I wasn't just saying that. I've had almost no concern with Gary offensively speaking. I feel like all year he's been close. You run through a lot of his at-bats and he's hit a number of balls on the screws right at guys on the infield.
"I feel like he just missed on some pop-ups and maybe was a little over-aggressive trying to get on track a little bit, but that's really all. I feel like he's been close now for a couple of weeks."
With a first-inning homer off David Price that cleared the Green Monster, Sanchez fattened his impressive career numbers against the Boston left-hander. He is now 6-for-12 against Price, with five homers.
"Just looking for a good pitch and make sure not to miss it in the zone," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "I had a good game tonight."
Sanchez said that he has been working with hitting coach Marcus Thames on a variety of drills. General manager Brian Cashman likened the early issues to what Sanchez experienced in the spring of 2016, when his bat went cold while competing to serve as Brian McCann's backup.
That job went instead to Austin Romine, though Sanchez erupted onto the big league scene later in the season, bashing 20 homers in 53 games.
"He's someone that you never typically worry about as a hitter," Cashman said. "He's hitting the ball hard, but some of it's on the ground. … He's someone who as long as there isn't anything physical going on -- and there isn't -- he'll catch up to where he's supposed to be sooner than later, I'm sure."
Sanchez, who was disciplined for his role in last August's on-field fracas with the Tigers in Detroit, said that he played peacemaker alongside Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton when the benches cleared in the third and seventh innings on Wednesday.
"I wanted to go out there and try to help calm the situation, hold some people and deflate the fight there," Sanchez said. "You've got to learn from your mistakes. Today, what I wanted to do was try to go out there and prevent people from fighting."
Here's a tip
The Yankees reviewed video of Luis Severino's start against the Red Sox, checking to see if the right-hander tipped pitches while surrendering five runs over five innings in Tuesday's 14-1 loss. Manager Aaron Boone indicated that there were aspects of the hurler's delivery that need to be addressed.
"It's something we've been aware about with Sevy and we address from time to time with him, and try to stay on top of," Boone said. "We try to be as vigilant as we can. We're aware of certain things that some of our pitchers may or may not do. It's something that we're always mindful of and trying to address, and something that we're trying to stay on top of so that doesn't become an issue."
Tommy Kahnle's fireballing arsenal helped him record a 13.79 K/9.0 IP ratio last season, ranking third in the American League, but a lack of velocity and command have diminished the right-hander's effectiveness through five appearances this season. Kahnle has struck out seven with seven walks in 6 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs for a 7.11 ERA.
"He says he is [healthy], but obviously clearly everyone has seen that his velo is not where it typically is," Cashman said. "That's a curiosity, so it's a puzzle that we're trying to figure out. We don't have an answer for that."
Kahnle's fastball averaged 98.1 mph last season, but it clocked about four mph lower during Tuesday's appearance. Boone said that Kahnle will be mostly utilized in low to medium leverage situations for the time being.
(Don't) read all about it
A few months removed from swapping his media credential for a seat on the Yankees' bench, Boone said that he has been able to tune out the press coverage surrounding his club.
"I don't read it or pay attention to it much," Boone said. "Joe Torre once told me when I first came to New York, 'Don't read the papers.' I'm just kind of focused on the day to day; not to say I don't keep up on what the heck is going on, I'm aware of things that I need to be aware of."
Injury report
Brandon Drury (severe migraines) has received good news with several of the tests he underwent on Monday in New York. Boone said that he has heard Drury is feeling better, but the Yankees are still waiting on results from other exams.
Jacoby Ellsbury (sore left hip) is aiming to resume baseball activities on Friday at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla.
Aaron Hicks (right intercostal strain) was scheduled to play nine innings on Wednesday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and could rejoin the Yankees on Thursday in Boston.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.