NEW YORK -- While Gary Sanchez waited for his swings to produce rewards, the Yankees catcher took pride in his work behind the plate, sensing improvement after scoring mixed results last season. That belief remains intact, despite seeing his first three passed balls of the season skip away this week.
"You cannot let stuff like that get in your head," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "Passed balls are part of the game. They're going to happen. I said from the beginning that I am not perfect. The good thing is, you can always turn the page and look forward to the next day."
Sanchez did not allow a passed ball in his first 10 games before having one on Tuesday against the Marlins. Two more came on Sanchez's watch in Thursday's 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays. Carsten Sabathia took the blame for the first one, a third-inning slider that crossed up Sanchez and allowed Luke Maile to trot home with Toronto's first run.
"It was my mistake," Sabathia said. "I didn't see the sign. I decided what I wanted and threw that pitch."
Sanchez said that he had called for a cutter, and Sabathia believed that the situation should have produced a mound visit. The second passed ball was more of a fluke, popping out of Sanchez's glove in the fifth inning and allowing Steve Pearce to advance a base. Another came on Friday as part of Toronto's two-run fifth inning.
"We've got to continue to work at it, and he is," manager Aaron Boone said after Friday's 8-5 loss. "It's always a concern when we evaluate what we're doing, how we're doing. I've seen enough positives, especially with blocking and his work. We all need to continue to get better, but I do view it as a bump in the road."
Meanwhile, Sanchez's bat has warmed. He saw a six-game hitting streak snapped on Friday, having batted .385 (10-for-26) over that span with five extra-base hits and 10 RBIs. Even with Friday's 0-for-4, the stretch has raised his average from .056 to .182.
Catch 'em all
Sonny Gray and Sanchez had difficulty syncing during a clunky effort last week in Boston, so Boone considered starting Austin Romine behind the plate on Friday. Boone decided against it, believing that since Gray and Sanchez worked well together in Spring Training, they should be able to do so in the regular season.
"I want them to be able to work together and for it to be something that can turn into a strength," Boone said. "I don't want to get tied into the personal catcher thing, because as we get down the stretch and hopefully get into the playoffs or something like that, we want to run our best club out there. We don't want to run things out there that are foreign to people.
"This is something we've got to try and push through the best we can. … We feel like it's a relationship that needs to work."
The Yankees participated in their first full-squad defensive workout of the regular season on Friday, going through infield and outfield drills prior to batting practice. Boone said that the workout was planned last week. New York's American League-worst 18 errors have led to 12 unearned runs.
April is too early for serious scoreboard watching, but Boone has taken notice of the Red Sox's results throughout a 16-2 start that ranks as the best in franchise history. The Yankees opened play on Friday with a 9-8 record, 6 1/2 games back in the American League East.
"I know they win every day, by a lot," Boone said. "They're playing great. But we're trying to get our own house in order and right and trying to get guys healthy and on the mend. We're just trying to get traction and us playing well. That's really all you concern yourself with, especially at this point in the season. But it's hard not to notice that they're running through the league pretty well right now."