Gary Sanchez didn’t start for a second straight game Monday night and it is not a lock the slumping catcher returns to the lineup Tuesday either.
“We will see, it could be [Tuesday] or [Wednesday],’’ Aaron Boone said before Monday night’s 12-7 loss to the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo. “Talk through with the coaches and see how we want to move forward.’’
Forward hasn’t been a direction Sanchez has been moving this year. He took a seat Monday night with an embarrassing .130 average and 48 strikeouts in 100 at-bats, and fanned in his last seven plate appearances before being benched Sunday in Baltimore.
According to Boone, Sanchez isn’t using the break to just clear his head. In pregame hitting sessions, the two-time All Star and once among the most feared right-handed hitters in baseball has been searching for something to get him out of a funk that is largely responsible for the free fall the Yankees are in.
“I think it is all about making that fine-tune adjustment, getting back to dominating the fastball. As a hitter I think that is where it all begins. You want to be able to handle the fastball,’’ Boone said. “When you are on time and in a good position to really hit the fastball well that is when you recognize and lay off off-speed pitches out of the zone. I really want to see him go up there and dominate the heater and if he can get back to doing that we know he can go on a special run for us.’’
Boone started Erik Kratz on Sunday in Baltimore and paired Kyle Higashioka with Jordan Montgomery on Monday.
eesLooking for something bright in a miserable loss? Try Miguel Andujar. He homered and drove in two runs a game after going 3-for-4 Sunday when he made a big error at third.
DJ LeMahieu started at third Monday night when Andujar was the DH.
When Giancarlo Stanton suffered a hamstring injury on Aug. 8 it was possible that the designated hitter could return in as few as three or four weeks. Tuesday marks a month since Stanton went down and despite being encouraged his progress during a rehab program there is no exact date when the much-needed right-handed bat will return to the lineup.
“I think it is making sure that thing is completely healed and he is in a position where he can go out and hopefully not be in a position to re-injure. When you are talking about soft tissue you have to be all the way healed,’’ Boone said. “It’s been a little bit slow but we feel he is making really good progress and the last few days have been pretty encouraging.’’
As for Aaron Judge, Boone said “everything went well in his first running on the field.’’
James Paxton (flexor strain) didn’t throw Monday after throwing consecutive days at 100 feet, but Boone didn’t have a date when the lefty starter will throw off a mound.
Clarke Schmidt’s second big-league outing wasn’t clean but it was better than his first.
Brought into start the eighth inning Monday night Schmidt walked two and struck out two. That was better than his debut Friday night in the second game of a doubleheader against the Orioles when he gave up two runs and three hits in 1 ¹/₃ innings.
Boone said he didn’t believe Luke Voit’s lingering foot issue was the reason the first baseman’s production at the plate has dropped off recently. Entering Monday night’s game, Voit was 2-for-23 (.087) with a .380 OPS in the previous six games.
“Even though he hasn’t gotten a lot of hits the last few days I think his at-bat quality has been very similar,’’ Boone said. “He has hit ball hard, right at guys.’’
Boone then watched Voit homer in the first inning Monday night. However, when Voit scored in the fifth inning with a hard slide he got up favoring his right leg. Voit contributed to the Yankees’ meltdown in the sixth inning by making a fielding error.