Gary Sanchez Exits Game Early with Arm Injury

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL - APRIL 04: New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) during the MLB regular season game between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays on April 4, 2017, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, who is coming off a sensational rookie campaign, left today’s game against the Baltimore Orioles early with an apparent injury, which came on a swing in a fifth inning at-bat against Kevin Gausman. The injury has been diagnosed as a right biceps strain of unknown severity. During the game, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that there is currently “no idea for [the] timetable on Sanchez at this time.”

Gary Sanchez Exits Game Early with Arm Injury

Meredith Marakovits, of the YES Network, said post-game that Sanchez would see a doctor in New York City this Monday or Tuesday. He added that the injury was not in a ligament or in his elbow, but in the muscle.

Sanchez appeared at first to want to stay in the game, but after a single practice swing he winced in pain and was forced to come out. Austin Romine, the team’s backup catcher, finished the at-bat and drew a walk. Romine will likely start at catcher for the Yankees as long as Sanchez is injured.

Sweeny Murti, the Yankees beat reporter for WFAN, reported that catcher Kyle Higashioka will join the team in Baltimore on Sunday to fill in for Sanchez during his stint on the 10-day disabled list. Higashioka was slated to be the starting catcher for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

After the Yankees loss to the Orioles, Manager Joe Girardi spoke to reporters about the injury to his young star. “The other guys get an opportunity now,” he said plainly. When asked about whether he feared that Sanchez’s injury would sideline him for longer than just ten days, Girardi responded “Of course. When talking about the throwing arm and when you see a guy come out of a game like that and hold it like that, you’re really concerned.”

The Big Picture Impact of a Sanchez Injury

Sanchez had been off to a less than stellar start to the 2017 season, but any prolonged injury still stands to drastically impact the Yankees chances of contending for a playoff spot – chances which were already not very high, as the team is in the midst of a youth movement.

He finished last season with 20 home runs, 42 RBI, and a .299 batting average in just 53 games. Many believed he was a front-runner for the AL Rookie of the Year, but ultimately lost the award to pitcher Michael Fulmer of the Detroit Tigers.

This season, in just four and a half games, Sanchez was 3-20 with three strikeouts. Although Sanchez has been placed on the disabled list, it is still unclear how significant the injury truly is and how long the recovery process will take.

Additionally, with Sanchez set to play a large role in the Yankees future, they will probably handle this injury with great caution, as they are with the recent injury to prospect James Kaprielian.

Sanchez’s first full season in the Major Leagues was supposed to be his chance to show his abilities both at the plate and behind it over a large sample size. His arm strength from the catcher position impressed many last season, but his ability to manage a pitching staff over a long stretch of time has yet to be seen.

In the meantime, the Yankees will be forced to make several lineup adjustments. Girardi will have to shuffle the order to fill the hole left by such a dynamic hitter, as well as try to maintain the lefty-righty-lefty mix he strove for at the top of the Yankees lineup.

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