NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez's powerful bat is expected to be absent from the Yankees' lineup for four weeks, manager Joe Girardi announced after the team's 8-1 victory over the Rays on Monday at Yankee Stadium.
An MRI revealed that Sanchez sustained a Grade 1 strain of the right brachialis muscle behind the biceps while swinging at a pitch on Saturday in Baltimore. Girardi said that the Yankees expect to have the catcher back in the Major League lineup at the end of those four weeks.
"It could be less, but who knows?" Sanchez said through an interpreter. "We'll see."
Currently on the 10-day disabled list, Sanchez was seen by team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad on Monday and said that there has been improvement. After the injury on Saturday, Sanchez said that he could not lift his arm without discomfort.
Girardi said that the Yankees will split reps behind the plate between Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka, but Sanchez's presence will be difficult to replace.
"It's a really good player. It's a big bat in your lineup that you're going to miss, but it gives the other two a chance to step up," Girardi said. "Romine has done a good job the last couple of days. Higgy is going to get some opportunities too, but [Sanchez is] a big bat, there's no doubt about it."
Sanchez received treatment during Monday's game and said that he will rest for 10 days before resuming baseball activities. He was 3-for-20 (.150) with one home run and two RBIs in five games after slugging 20 homers in 53 games last season.
"The expectation for myself is still the same," Sanchez said. "The injury happened and you've got to go through that, but my expectation for the kind of season that I want to have is still the same."
The Yankees are hopeful that Greg Bird will be able to return to the lineup Wednesday against the Rays. Bird missed the home opener with a bruised right ankle and the lingering effects of an illness that cropped up Saturday evening in Baltimore.
"I don't think [rest is] going to hurt the ankle, but for me it was more the illness than anything," Girardi said.