On Friday night, Gary Sanchez allowed his 12th Major League leading passed ball, which didn’t stand well with manager–and former catcher–Joe Girardi. In fact, the usually positive manager threw Sanchez under the bus, stating that Sanchez’s defense “needs to improve. Bottom line.”
On Saturday, Girardi sent a message to Sanchez by starting Austin Romine behind the plate. Girardi insisted that Sanchez would start behind the plate on Sunday afternoon, but many were surprised when Romine was once again the starting catcher.
The media asked if Sanchez was healthy, in which Girardi said Sanchez was okay ‘physically’. However, Girardi added he was impressed with Romine’s catching the previous night. Even though it seemed like Girardi was punishing Sanchez for a second straight game, there was no message behind not giving Sanchez another start.
“The start is not the message,” Girardi said prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Cleveland Indians. “The message came from us verbally that, ‘Your defense needs to improve. That you need to get better. You need to work at it.’ We have stressed how important it is. There are certain situations that some people may not think that something that happens in the game effects the next game. It could if it leads to 10 extra pitches for a reliever.”
Sanchez hasn’t been impressive behind the plate this year; he has 12 passed balls and 10 errors, which is second-most at the position. The Yankees have worked on helping Sanchez make adjustments, but unfortunately it hasn’t clicked. With the team in the middle of a pennant race, they can no longer afford to have Sanchez allow opportunities for the opposition.
If Sanchez doesn’t turn his defensive season around, he might find himself on the bench in favor of Romine behind the dish.