Yankees’ Robinson Chirinos is back to full health after wrist fracture; could he force his way into the team’s plans?

Sep 19, 2020; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets catcher Robinson Chirinos (26) at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees plan was to enter the season with Gary Sanchez as the starting catcher and Kyle Higashioka fighting for the backup position with veteran backstop Robinson Chirinos. But as the first month winds down, the situation right now is completely different to what the team had drawn.

Chirinos got injured in spring training, and Higashioka has earned, according to Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone, more playing time after an excellent showing in the early going, both offensively and defensively.

Higgy is, in addition to providing his customary good defense to the Yankees, hitting .276/.364/.759 with four home runs and a 212 wRC+. Sanchez, meanwhile, is at .190/.329/.310 wit a couple of dingers and a 91 wRC+.

However, Chirinos may re-appear in the picture. According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone (link to NJ Advance Media article here), the veteran “is definitely a guy that obviously gives us really quality depth right now.”

NJ Advance Media speculates that the Yankees may decide to shop Sanchez and go with Higashioka and Chirinos in their depth chart.

Chirinos is 100% recovered from his broken wrist, an injury he suffered in spring training. It took him the better part of the last six weeks, but he is already active and playing in the Yankees’ alternate training site.

The article clarifies that it is not a given that the Yankee shop Sanchez, but it is a possibility given he has been relegated to a timeshare with Higashioka and hasn’t been successful since 2019.

The Yankees like Chirinos

Boone certainly likes Chirinos. “He was a great teammate in spring training,” the skipper said this week. “I thought he really integrated himself into our room and conversations. The camaraderie that he developed with our catchers and with our pitchers I thought was really good.

“We know he’s a guy with obviously all kinds of experience that’s been a really good catcher in this league for a long time.”

The 36-year-old Chirinos has it .231 over his nine-year MLB tenure.