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Sanchez on track to return around All-Star break

MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is encouraged by his progress since being placed on the 10-day disabled list on June 25 with a Grade 1 right groin strain.

Although Sanchez says he is feeling better than expected just one week after the injury, the backstop is still on pace to return in two to three weeks. If Sanchez ends up getting cleared to play right before the All-Star break, manager Aaron Boone said he will likely wait to play the backstop until after the break to give him a few extra days of rest.

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NEW YORK -- Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is encouraged by his progress since being placed on the 10-day disabled list on June 25 with a Grade 1 right groin strain.

Although Sanchez says he is feeling better than expected just one week after the injury, the backstop is still on pace to return in two to three weeks. If Sanchez ends up getting cleared to play right before the All-Star break, manager Aaron Boone said he will likely wait to play the backstop until after the break to give him a few extra days of rest.

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"I'm definitely feeling better than I thought I would be feeling by today, so that's good," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "But the timetable is two, three weeks. That's what I've been told and we got to wait and see what happens then."

Sanchez played catch on Saturday and has done some light conditioning in the gym, but has yet to be cleared to run.

"No pain," Sanchez said. "I feel like I could do more right now, but I haven't been cleared to run. That's going to be the next step."

"It's going well," Boone said. "I was in the weight room with him while he was on the bike doing his conditioning and stuff, and I knew he threw yesterday. When he's running -- I don't know what the plan is yet for him as far as that. Hopefully [we will get him back] around that All-Star break, give or take. That's the timetable it's looking like for him."

Sanchez has hit .190 with 14 home runs in 2018 and slashed just .121/.215/.259 in 15 June games. Although some may think his time on the disabled list could be the break the catcher needs offensively, Sanchez disagrees.

"I want to be playing," Sanchez said. "My mind is fine. Nobody wants to be injured. Using this injury to refresh my mind or get my mind off baseball is not what I wanted. I always thought my mind was strong. You just never want to get injured."

As Sanchez continues to recover, the Yankees avoided losing another backstop when Austin Romine's MRI results came back negative after being pulled from Saturday's game in the seventh inning with left hamstring tightness.

"We look forward to getting Gary Sanchez back and keeping both Romine and [Kyle] Higashioka healthy," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I doubt that's an area that we'll be able to improve on the depth because there's not a lot of great catching running around the game."

Higashioka was given the start behind the plate in Sunday's series finale against Boston, but Boone said that Romine would be available off the bench and could be back in the lineup against the Braves on Monday.

"If Romine and Higashioka and Gary Sanchez are all healthy, I'm comfortable with our catching," Cashman said. "If they're not, we're going to obviously have to look through a different picture. Trying to improve upon that is not going to be easy to be honest. Don't hold your breath if you're looking for me to reinforce our insurance policies at Triple-A behind Higashioka. That's going to be pretty difficult."

"Ro's all right," Boone said. "I feel like we dodged a bullet there. He told me he was fine. Try to stay away from him today, but hopefully back in there against Atlanta."

Called up
Prior to Sunday's game against the Red Sox, the Yankees selected the contract of right-handed pitcher David Hale from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

The righty last appeared for the Bombers on May 11, allowing two earned runs on four hits, including two home runs, in three innings against Oakland. In 11 starts with the RailRiders this season, Hale went 3-2 with a 4.20 ERA.

This date in Yankees history
July 1, 2004: Derek Jeter made his most famous catch, diving into Yankee Stadium's third base stands to nab a 12th-inning popup from Boston's Trot Nixon. John Flaherty went on to give the Yankees a 5-4 win in the 13th on a walk-off single.

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

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez