TAMPA — Gary Sanchez didn’t travel to Sarasota on Sunday to play against the Orioles. Nor did the catcher participate against the Braves at Steinbrenner Field. And he isn’t scheduled to make the trip to Clearwater on Monday when the Yankees face the Phillies.
Sanchez came down with soreness in the back Saturday after catching Thursday and Friday, didn’t take batting practice Saturday and wasn’t sure if he was going to hit on the field prior to Sunday’s game against the Braves.
“I feel better (Sunday). I definitely feel better than (Saturday),” Sanchez said Sunday through a translator.
But not well enough to play two days after catching back-to-back games against the Tigers and Orioles.
“Little tight, a little uncomfortable. Treating it after catching games back to back,” Sanchez said. “Better for me to take care of it now, it’s the right time to take care of anything, you don’t rush anything especially in spring training when you have time. It’s up to the trainers.”
Sanchez said the tightness is in the lower and middle of the back. He has been examined by the Yankees’ medical staff but hadn’t been stuffed into an MRI tube as of Sunday morning.
As per catching instructor Tanner Swanson, Sanchez is setting up lower to the ground with a leg stretched out to the opposite side of the plate as the hitter. It is designed for Sanchez to frame the lower pitches better and steal strikes.
Did the new setup factor into the back tightness? Sanchez didn’t move well Friday night when he was charged with a passed ball and was behind the plate for three wild pitches.
“I feel good receiving. At the same time I don’t know if it is a result of that,” Sanchez said of the lower setup causing the back tightness.