Tagged in: kyle higashioka

Slumping Yankees rally from early hole to down Indians 6-3

Rougned Odor’s two-out, two-run single broke a seventh-inning tie — and maybe jarred New York from its hitting funk — and sent the Yankees to a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series.

Odor was batting just .107 and in a 3-for-28 slide when he came up versus Nick Wittgren (0-1). He slapped his single through the middle to score Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres to break a 3-3 tie as the Yankees got just their second win in eight matches.

Kyle Higashioka homered in the eighth for New York, which entered with its worst record to open a season since 1991, when Stump Merrill managed and Don Mattingly manned first base.

Domingo Germán (1-2) returned from a demotion to the alternate training site and shook off falling behind 3-0 in the first. He lasted six innings and won the first time since serving a suspension under baseball’s domestic violence policy that started in September 2019 and ended his season with an 18-4 record.

Jonathan Loaisiga and Chad Green combined for two innings of relief, and Aroldis Chapman struck out the side around a walk in the ninth for his third save.

The Yankees came in batting an AL-worst .205, embarrassing for a team loaded with talent and boasting a $200 million payroll.

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Boone tweaked his lineup — and rested struggling sluggers Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sánchez — in hopes of sparking his team.

“I remain really confident that our group is going to turn this around offensively and I look forward to the fun that comes along with that,” Boone said before the game. “We’re not doing what I know we will do.”

The Indians, who lost to New York in last season’s wild-card round, have dropped four of five and soured manager Terry Francona’s 62nd birthday.

Germán didn’t look as if he’d be around for long after giving up three runs in the first. But the right-hander, who was recalled from the alternate site before the game, settled in and held the Indians scoreless on two hits over the next five innings.

The Indians scored three times in the first off Germán, who committed an error on a comebacker that could have been an inning-ending double play but he dropped. Left fielder Brett Gardner also failed to hold onto a sinking liner that started things.

Eddie Rosario, Josh Naylor and Franmil Reyes drove in runs as the Indians gave Aaron Civale an early 3-0 cushion. The Yankees, though, responded in the third on RBI singles by DJ LeMahieu and Torres, whose shot toward the gap was mishandled by right fielder Josh Naylor, permitting a second run to score.

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New York Yankees to tender offer to veteran catcher Gary Sanchez

Gary Sanchez turned 28 years old Wednesday and obtained the ultimate birthday gift: a contract tendered by the New York Yankees.

Longtime MLB insider Jon Heyman reported the Bronx Bombers would offer the contract to the polarizing backstop.

This is the best news Sanchez could’ve received. He posted an awful line of .147/.253/.365 in 49 matches. He hit ten home runs but only recorded 23 hits on the season.

His strikeout rate (K%) was a horrific 36%. Sanchez also struggled defensively again and was ultimately benched for backup Kyle Higashioka in the playoffs. As for money, it’s difficult to say. Sanchez was awarded $5 million in his first year of arbitration, which shrunk to $1.85 million due to the pandemic. Spotrac estimates his 2021 earnings at $5.75 million, which is fair given his subpar performance from last campaign.

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All in all, expect Sanchez to be the most heavily scrutinized player on the team once spring training comes along. Forget Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton’s never-ending hailstorm of injuries. Don’t worry about the state of the pitching rotation and who lines up behind ace Gerrit Cole.

Sanchez and his ability to rebound from a bad season, yet again, will be the story.

This is something of a gamble by general manager Brian Cashman. The Yankees employ no promising catching prospects anywhere close to MLB-ready. Higashioka can step up and start if things become detrimental, but doesn’t sport the power that describes Sanchez’s presence in the lineup.

Simply put, the Yankees are at a crossroads. One path leads to Sanchez finally righting himself and potentially becoming New York’s next franchise catcher.

The other, however, leads to the struggles continuing and the Yankees needing to trade for a backstop, likely at the cost of top prospects. Hopefully, tendering Sanchez a contract proves to be the right move.

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