New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, right, celebrates with teammates after the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians 13-7 in a baseball game Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 in New York.
By Joe Giglio
NEW YORK — The remainder of the 2016 Yankees season will be about balancing the past, present and future.
On Friday night, that meant the start of Mark Teixeira’s farewell mixed with Gary Sanchez’s first game behind the plate in the big leagues. After a 13-7 victory over the Indians, it was Sanchez’s performance (1-for-4, double, 2 RBI, 1 BB, two runners caught stealing) that had the Yankees clubhouse beaming, including Teixeira.
“That arm, man! That’s a special arm right there,” Teixeira said when asked to assess what he saw from Sanchez. “You’re not going to have many guys stealing on him with that arm. You just loving seeing 23-year-old guys with all the skills needed to be a great player. I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
As are the Yankees. It’s why manager Joe Girardi made a point of saying that he’s now part of the catcher rotation. In fact, Girardi didn’t rule out playing him in a day game after a night game on Saturday.
“He’s going to catch,” Girardi said. “All these guys are going to catch. Him being younger, I don’t worry too much about day game after night game.”
Part of the reason more playing time is on the way? The moment isn’t too big for Sanchez.
“I didn’t see him get flustered at any point, didn’t see him get emotional,” Girardi said. “He made two good throws to help Michael (Pineda) out early in the game. He recorded two of the first four outs for Michael, in a sense. I thought he did a nice job.”
Of all the accolades thrown at Sanchez late Friday evening, the hitting star of the night, Starlin Castro, started and ended his take on the new Yankees catcher with two words that should have the fan base ecstatic for the future.
“Great,” Castro said when describing Sanchez’s debut. “That guy did a great job behind the plate. Great throw. Blocked the ball well. He’s impressive.”
Great. Impressive. Special.
It’s only been one night behind the plate, but Sanchez’s clubhouse seems sold on his talent.