NEW YORK — The Yankees’ youth movement is in full-swing.
Before Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays, manager Joe Girardi dropped a pair of hints that young Gary Sanchez will take over for Brian McCann as the team’s everyday catcher going forward. It’s a role he’s essentially held for a week or two now, but no one has ever really acknowledged it.
“Well, we’re still going to see Mac DH-ing. I’m going to catch Sanchie,” Girardi said, bestowing a new role and a new nickname on his 23-year-old backstop.
Sanchez is clearly the Yankees’ catcher of the future, and the present, slugging four home runs in his first 49 plate appearances this season. He earned a promotion to cleanup on Wednesday, hitting ahead of Aaron Judge.
In the field, he’s been the best of the bunch too, showcasing his strong arm.
“I think all of the guys have done a good job. You’re asking me to judge a guy that’s caught 10 games. I think that’s kind of difficult to do,” Girardi said of his catching defense. “But I will say something: In those 10 games, he’s played extremely well.”
McCann could very well be dealt after clearing waivers, considering New York tried and failed to trade the veteran at the deadline. Girardi did say that he expects him to catch again this season, but he won’t play first base.
All that’s left is for Tyler Austin to take over as the team’s primary first baseman, which could wind up happening should Mark Teixeira’s knee flare up again. Then, the Yankees would have installed all their big-league ready youngsters in regular roles.