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Yankees Hot Corner – Sanchez’s groin could be a problem

When Aaron Boone came out with the news that Gary Sanchez would miss only 3-4 weeks with a Grade 1 groin strain, Yankee fans rejoiced.  Sanchez left Sunday’s game against the Rays with what appeared to be a serious groin injury.  He was able to walk off the field but very gingerly.

The timetable is good news of course, but the fact that Sanchez hurt his groin and not another area of his body is concerning.  The lower body is crucial for a catcher, as he obviously is in a squatting position for half the game.  Sanchez is not an injury prone player, but these kinds of injuries add up over the years.  For most catchers, it’s usually the knees that go first.  There’s a reason why Joe Mauer switched from catcher to first base years ago.

Sanchez will be just fine for now, but a groin injury can linger for months.  If Boone is smart, he’ll slowly work Sanchez back behind the plate and DH him most days when he’s available.  As great as Sanchez is behind the plate (calling a game, not defense), he needs to be healthy for the home stretch at the end of the season.

Another reason why Sanchez’s injury is concerning is the lack of depth behind him.  Sure, Austin Romine has been great this season, but it’s only in limited work and mostly with Sonny Gray on the mound.  Behind Romine is Kyle Higashioka, a Triple-A catcher who can barely hit in the minors (.191 in 56 games) and is hitless in 20 major league at-bats. He’s essentially an automatic out and the lineup gets much shorter when your eight or nine hitter can’t hit.

In addition to the depth, Romine is also getting exposed a little bit.  He’s never been an every day catcher, and considering his average has dropped to .289 in just a few games and he only has seven hits in his last 11 games means that pitchers are learning how to pitch to him.  Hopefully he gets out of this mini slump, but if he doesn’t, that’s a serious problem.

We wish all the best for Gary and hope he comes back healthier than ever, but there’s a reason why the Yankees took Anthony Seigler in the first round of this year’s draft.  Seigler could be the catcher of the future if injuries start to sneak up on Sanchez.  Let’s hope this doesn’t happen, but it’s a scary trajectory considering all the catchers before him who have had to deal with groin injuries.

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