Yankees' Gary Sanchez (groin) heading to DL day after not hustling

ESPN logo
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was placed on the disabled list with a right groin strain one day after he didn't hustle on a couple of plays in a loss to the Rays.

An MRI on Tuesday confirmed that he aggravated the injury that sent him to the DL last month.Yankees manager Aaron Boone said it's "at least going to be a couple weeks" before Sanchez is able to rejoin the Yankees.

"Being tight in a certain part of your body, I'm used to that," Sanchez said through an interpreter. "It's happened before where you have aches in parts of your body, and you just get through them. You keep playing, and eventually they go away. I mentioned it [to trainers] after the game that I was a little tight, and then this morning I saw the trainer, and that's when they did the MRI."

With Sanchez going to the DL, the Yankees called up Kyle Higashioka from Triple-A. The backup catcher was with the Yankees during Sanchez's earlier DL stint. Like before, he'll serve as Austin Romine's understudy as Romine gets Sanchez's starting duties.

Sanchez said he was injured on a play that many thought was his first instance of not hustling.

With two outs in the first inning, Sanchez and Yankees ace Luis Severino got their signals confused with Rays first baseman Jake Bauers standing at second base.

"I thought I saw three fingers," Severino said, believing Sanchez was asking him to throw a slider. "He told me, 'No, I called one.'"

The catcher was expecting a fastball and had trouble keeping Severino's pitch in front of him. When it got away, it skipped well up the third-base line. Lost initially, Sanchez seemed to jog over toward the ball, thinking Bauers would try to advance only one base. Sanchez said Tuesday that he felt something in the groin while getting out of his crouch.

By the time Sanchez picked up his pace toward the baseball, Bauers was going into a headfirst slide at home, well ahead of Sanchez's throw that ended up hitting him.

"Yeah, that's another instance there if I would have done a better job, being quicker, getting that ball, maybe we have a chance to get him out at home," Sanchez said Monday night. "And that's my fault."

Monday's 7-6 loss ended when Sanchez was thrown out on a 4-6-3 single-out putout. He didn't hustle out of the batter's box. Had he sprinted out of the batter's box, he might have reached first, allowing Aaron Judge to score a tying run in the ninth.

Sanchez expressed regret for the play Monday night and again Tuesday.

"An injury is never an excuse. My answer is the same as yesterday," he said. "I could've done a better job."

Boone said that before learning of the reaggravation of Sanchez's injury, he was prepared to levy discipline upon the player. He declined to specify what the punishment would have been.

"I was prepared to kind of handle it between he and I," Boone said.

Just after Monday's game, Boone was about to seek out Sanchez to chat about his effort when the catcher came to speak to him instead. It was at the end of their conversation when Sanchez revealed he had been feeling "tight" during the game, and that prompted the MRI to be scheduled.

Boone and Sanchez contended that the catcher was back to full health after resting and rehabbing the groin strain he suffered the last time the Yankees visited Tampa on June 24. Sanchez was hurt while trying to beat a ground ball.

After a nearly four-week stay on the disabled list, he returned to the lineup Friday.

Sanchez said Tuesday that he does not feel like he rushed back from the previous injury, and he doesn't know when he'll be ready this time.

He does, however, believe that whenever he returns, he will demonstrate growth from this entire episode.

"When the other team scores runs and you have the game on the line and you end up basically losing the game because it's your fault, you feel really bad about that," Sanchez said. "You feel bad for your teammates, you feel bad for the fans, because you want to give them the maximum effort.

"You have a responsibility as a player, and when you don't give them the best you can, of course you're going to feel that you let them down."

Boone believes the entire organization can help Sanchez give that maximum effort moving forward.

"I'm really fond of the person, and he's not a finished product necessarily yet, but we're all going to be a part of helping him get there," Boone said. "And when he does, we're going to have a special player, a special person. I know deep down he really cares about his craft, his teammates. It's upon all of us to try and help him become better."

ESPN's Coley Harvey contributed to this report.

Related Video