Gary Sanchez has had a rough second semester of the year. Since the shortened 2020 season started in July, he was never able to get in an offensive groove with the New York Yankees. The small sample size noise and some clear issues to make consistent contact (he ran a career-high 36 percent strikeout rate) left him with a .147 batting average and a 69 wRC.
His struggles were so bad that Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone decided to go with the “hot hand” approach and benched Sanchez for most of the playoffs, in favor of his backup Kyle Higashioka.
In an interview with ESPN’s Marly Rivera that was published on Monday, the New York Yankees’ star expressed his frustration about the benching and said no one in the organization told him why he wasn’t going to be the starter in the postseason.
Among the Yankees catcher supporters, there is an iconic, historic figure in the franchise: Reggie Jackson, Mr. October himself.
A Yankees’ great has Sanchez’s back
On the same day that Sanchez’s interview with Rivera came to light, the Yankees’ legend tweeted some words of support to one of his protegÃ©s.
â€œGary Sanchez, the job is yours,â€ Jackson tweeted. â€œYou only have to claim it. You were the best hitter on the team at one time. Work your butt off and prove it. Iâ€™ve believed in you since you were 16, and so do a lot of others. Let me see what you got, sobrino.â€
Sobrino means nephew in Spanish.
â€œWhen they benched me during the regular season, it was explained to me that I would catch one day and have a day off or catch two days and then have a day off to rest, (to) work on things,â€™’ Sanchez said to Rivera. â€œThen the playoffs came along, and you start getting excited and you have all that adrenaline.
â€œI already felt I was in better form and I had so much desire to contribute to the team, to finally do something, which I did not do in the regular season. Feeling like I couldnâ€™t contribute was very hard. I always kept supporting my team. But the reality is they never told me why I was benched. I didnâ€™t know why I wasnâ€™t playing.â€
The Yankees’ backstop is eager to take back his starting spot in 2021.
â€œI cannot speak for the team, but Iâ€™m ready to be an everyday catcher,â€™’ Sanchez said. â€œRight now, Iâ€™m 27 and I donâ€™t see myself as a catcher one day a week, two days a week. I donâ€™t see my career going that way yet. I know that I can play and help the team on both sides of the ball every day.â€