Last season, New York Yankeesâ€™ manager Aaron Boone recognized that ace Gerrit Cole preferred to pitch to Kyle Higashioka, and proceeded to bench Gary Sanchez every time the ace stepped on the mound. After all, Higgy and Cole have history of great communication and working well together.
However, on Mondayâ€™s win against the Tigers in spring training, Boone elected to pair Cole with Sanchez again, who will be the presumed opening day starter behind the dish. The pitcher, despite not having his finest performance (itâ€™s still spring training, so donâ€™t panic!) was pleased with what he saw from the Kraken.
At one point, Sanchez went to the mound to talk with the Yankeesâ€™ star pitcher, and patted his left shoulder after a chat on the mound. They were communicating, and their working relationship has evidently progressed.
â€œHe came out at a good time to give me a breather,â€ Cole said per MLB.com. â€œI thought we worked well today, and so I was confident throwing anything we needed to. He made some good blocks in the dirt too, so I thought we did a nice job together.â€
Cole and the Yankees were pleased with the outing despite the results
In one inning of work, the Tigers had three hits and a run against Cole.
Â â€œYou want to come out of here healthy and having thrown all your pitches,â€ Cole said. â€œThereâ€™s always something to work on every time you take the mound. Weâ€™ll look to improve on where we started from today. In terms of the shapes of the pitches, the velocity relative to the effort, it was a pretty good start from that standpoint.â€
The last time the Yankees paired Cole with Sanchez was on August 31. That game resulted in a loss for Cole, vs. the Rays.
With Higashioka, Cole had a 1.00 ERA in September, allowing 14 hits and five walks with 34 strikeouts in 27 innings.
Â â€œWeâ€™ve been working a lot here in Spring Training,â€ SÃ¡nchez said through an interpreter. â€œThe idea was to be on the same page and work together seamlessly. Iâ€™m trying to do the best I can to help him. Heâ€™s also going to help me. Having another year of experience catching him, it also helps.â€