Sanchez aggravates groin, placed on DL
ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who missed 20 games earlier this season with a strained right groin, was placed on the 10-day disabled list with the same ailment prior to Tuesday night's game against the Rays. Although no exact timetable was given, Sanchez is expected to miss several weeks, said manager Aaron Boone.
"We had an MRI this morning and it showed the same injury in the same spot, same location," Sanchez said through a translator.
Sanchez said he aggravated the injury when he felt "something grab" while jumping out of his crouch on a passed ball in the first inning of Monday night's 7-6 loss to the Rays. The 25-year-old backstop attributed the tightness to standard aches and pains of being a catcher and stayed in the game.
In a decisive ninth inning with the bases loaded Monday, it appeared that Sanchez failed to fully run out a grounder. Sanchez, who is batting .188 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs in 66 games this season, said that there was some tightness while trying to leg out an infield single but reiterated his statement that he wasn't using it as an excuse for not hustling.
"An injury is never an excuse," said Sanchez, who played in just three games before returning to the DL. "When I'm on the field, I'm good to play. I could have done a better job."
That play, along with the defensive play on which the initial injury occurred that allowed Jake Bauers to come around and score from second base, drew considerable backlash across social media. Sanchez has been previously reprimanded for his lack of effort.
"Everybody is going to have an opinion and everybody is going to view it from many different points of view," Sanchez said. "To me, what's important is this team and helping this team win any way possible. Everybody's entitled to their opinion, but what matters to me is this team."
Boone addressed the lack of hustle with Sanchez during a lengthy conversation following the game, which is when the injury came to light.
"I think he was out there and in a place that he felt like he certainly could have given more and should have given more," Boone said. "I think [the injury and the effort] are a little bit separate. I think there's doubt the injury cuts into that a little bit, but I think he felt he was sound enough to be given the situation a stronger effort."
The first-year manager admitted that even before the injury was disclosed, he was prepared to handle the matter in private and that Sanchez's reputation for not always giving his best effort wasn't deserved.
"I don't see that as an issue," Boone said. "I also think this year has been very much a learning experience for him. He's dealt with a lot of diversity, and I think it's a chance for him to take inventory of all this, learn from all this and hopefully grow from all this as a player, as a person. That's on all of us to come along his side and help him grow up to hopefully be a finished product as a player we believe he can be."
Austin Romine, who is batting .270 with six home runs and 26 RBIs in 41 games, will take over primary catching duties again in Sanchez's absence. Kyle Higashioka was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and will serve as the backup catcher.
"Ro has been great," Boone said. "Ro's had a really strong season for us on both sides of the plate and we are fortunate to have such a quality backup. We feel confident with what he brings to the table."
Hicks day to day
Outfielder Aaron Hicks was not in Tuesday's lineup after leaving the field with a slight limp after sliding into second base on the final play of Monday night's game. Boone said that Hicks was day to day and would likely return to the lineup on Wednesday.
"He got beat up a little in last night's game," Boone said. "It's nothing that should keep him down more than a day or so."