TORONTO -- As Gary Sanchez rejoined the Yankees lineup on Saturday, the slugging backstop aimed to reclaim the form that helped him belt 24 homers prior to the All-Star break. He did so by launching a solo homer in the fourth inning off Blue Jays reliever Jacob Waguespack to bring
TORONTO -- As Gary Sanchez rejoined the Yankees lineup on Saturday, the slugging backstop aimed to reclaim the form that helped him belt 24 homers prior to the All-Star break. He did so by launching a solo homer in the fourth inning off Blue Jays reliever Jacob Waguespack to bring his total to 25, a mark that continues to lead all Major League catchers. New York fell to Toronto, 5-4.
Sanchez is batting .229/.298/.518 with 59 RBIs in 78 games. After a red-hot start, the 26-year-old slumped through late June and July, batting just .118 with a single homer in 21 games from June 23 to July 23 before landing on the injured list with a left groin strain.
"I feel good," Sanchez said through a translator. "Struggles are part of the game. It’s part of the sport. It’s in the past, and I'm looking forward to today."
Sanchez played in two Minor League rehab games for Triple-A before flying north to meet the big league squad. He said that he has not felt discomfort since five days after the injury, and that no alterations have been made to his training program.
"The workout routine this year, I feel stronger and better," Sanchez said. "It doesn’t matter how much you prepare, how much work you put in. If an injury is going to happen, it’s going to happen. I have a really good routine right now and try to prepare the best I can."
The Yankees played well in Sanchez's absence, going 11-5 in the 16 games he missed. Catchers Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka combined to hit .316 (19-for-60) with seven home runs and 19 RBIs while filling in for Sanchez.
"Ro and Higgy have done a great job, but it's good to have the big fella back," manager Aaron Boone said.
In addition to activating Sanchez and optioning Higashioka to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre prior to Saturday's game, the Yankees placed right-hander Jonathan Holder on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder inflammation, retroactive to Aug. 7.
Left-hander Stephen Tarpley was recalled from Triple-A to take Holder's place in the bullpen. Tarpley yielded two runs on one hit and four walks with four strikeouts in 2 1/3 innings on Saturday.
Holder is the 26th Yankees player to land on the injured list this season (33 stints).
"Hopefully it's something that's a little shorter term, but he's definitely got some impingement there," Boone said. "I'm sure we'll see in the coming days what it entails."
• Jonathan Loaisiga (right shoulder strain) pitched three scoreless one-hit innings for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday, walking no one and striking out four in a 48-pitch effort. Boone said that Loaisiga could be a bullpen option for New York this coming week.
• CC Sabathia (right knee inflammation) is scheduled to throw from the bullpen mound on Sunday in Toronto. Sabathia has not been on the mound since his July 27 start against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
• Giancarlo Stanton (right knee sprain) remained in New York for this trip, where he continues to hit off a tee and throw. Stanton is also participating in agility and strength work.
• Luke Voit (sports hernia) continues to express optimism about his chances of avoiding or delaying surgery. Boone said that Voit could be re-introduced to baseball activities during the upcoming homestand.
This date in Yankees history
Aug. 10, 1986: The Yankees held "Billy Martin Day" at Yankee Stadium, retiring the No. 1 jersey that he wore as a player and manager. Martin told the crowd of 40,198, "I may not have been the greatest Yankee to put on the uniform, but I am the proudest."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.