Sore back holds Sánchez out of batting practice

March 7th, 2020

BRADENTON, Fla. -- A sore back kept from taking batting practice Saturday, one day after the Yankees catcher heard boos for seeing a passed ball and three wild pitches on his watch in a 5-1 loss to the Orioles at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

“His back was a little sore this morning, so we’ll just back off of him today,” manager Aaron Boone said prior to New York’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates, a 7-4 win. “I’m not that concerned about it. I think it’s kind of normal wear and tear, first back-to-backs kind of thing. I don’t think it’ll be much of an issue.”

Sánchez caught Gerrit Cole’s start on Thursday against the Tigers in Lakeland, Fla., then was behind the plate to catch touted prospect Deivi Garcia on Friday against Baltimore.

With Garcia on the mound, a wild pitch and passed ball helped fuel a pair of Orioles first-inning runs. David Hale also uncorked a pair of wild pitches, some of the first blips Sánchez has experienced this spring as he works with new catching coach Tanner Swanson to refine his framing.

“I don’t think it was cross-ups; I think [Sánchez] just had a bad inning there and it snowballed on him a little bit,” Boone said. “Up until that inning, we were even talking about it -- going through some things before the game, how good it looks and how comfortable it looks. You don’t want this stuff to happen, but you also realize it’s March and it’s an inning. It doesn’t take away a lot of the good things we’re seeing.”

Any injury news seems worthy of an alert in Yankees camp, where Aaron Judge (stress fracture in rib), James Paxton (back surgery) and Giancarlo Stanton (right calf strain) have all been deleted from the likely Opening Day roster.

Yet Boone said that he expects Sánchez to be back behind the plate Monday when the Yankees visit the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., after resting again Sunday. Sánchez has managed only one hit in 17 at-bats (.059) so far this spring, working two walks while striking out seven times.

“His timing hasn’t been real good,” Boone said. “It’s kind of the old in-between of catching up timing-wise on the fastball and he’s out in front of some secondary pitches. We feel like obviously with him, it’s something that will come over time. He’s just got to keep working through it and get the reps, and he’ll get there.”