Yanks place Gary Sanchez (groin strain) on IL

Higashioka recalled; Cortes replaces Holder in bullpen

July 25th, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- While the Yankees reveled in what seemed to be their most enjoyable victory of the season to date, glumly shuffled to his locker in the visitors' clubhouse at Target Field, expressing hope that another stint in the injured list was not in his future.

Indeed, Sanchez landed on the 10-day injured list prior to Wednesday's game, as an MRI revealed a Grade 1 left groin strain. The Yankees recalled catcher and left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, optioning right-hander to Triple-A.

"It's a Grade 1 strain, so in the scale of strains, I guess it's minor," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It's somewhat good news, but it's still going to need some time. We'll have to see how these next few days and week unfolds and how he's healing."

Boone said Sanchez could return to the lineup at some point in August, though he acknowledged that a September return is also possible. The All-Star catcher was forced to exit in the eighth inning of the Yankees' 14-12, 10-inning victory, sustaining the injury while running out a grounder to Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco.

"It just feels a little tight," Sanchez said through an interpreter on Tuesday. "It's not preventing me from walking or moving my back freely, so I'm positive about that."

Sanchez went hitless in his past 19 at-bats and was 10-for-85 (.118) across his last 21 games (20 starts), over which he struck out 28 times.

Last season, Sanchez served two stints on the injured list with a right groin strain. He also missed 11 games this season with a left calf strain.

"It felt like kind of like a cramp," Sanchez said of Tuesday's injury. "It's nothing like what I had last year. The pain is completely different."

With Sanchez out, Boone said he envisions and Higashioka splitting duties behind the plate, suggesting that Higashioka could start two games this weekend against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"I think you'll see a lot of both of them," Boone said. "Even though Gary being down is a blow, we feel like in Higgy we have a guy capable of not only coming up here and filling in, but a guy capable of coming up here and thriving and having an impact on us winning games."