Gary Sanchez tries to rediscover what makes him a special receiver



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SARASOTA, Florida – Gary Sanchez's spring started a bit like most of his 2018 years: mediocre.

The receiver played Saturday night's game against Baltimore with a 1-1 draw with a home run, no walks and five strikeouts in his first four games. On the positive side, Sanchez defended himself well – especially in Saturday's 6-1 win over the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium.

"I really like what I've seen, especially on the catchers' side," said manager Aaron Boone. "His work behind the scenes was strong. Now, it's about getting regular bats. … He tries to find his offensive timing.

And it was before Sanchez performed two exceptional games in front of the floor Saturday in front of the marble, quickly jumping on a defeat in front of Anthony Santander's marble in the third period, then making a powerful shot first. . He made a similar play in the sixth.

"It was really sports games," Boone said, adding that Sanchez had probably made the first one more difficult by unbalancing. "But finishing this game confirms what we saw physically."

"At that moment, you try to reach the ball as soon as possible and make a fast and precise throw," said Sanchez through an interpreter.

Gary Sanchez associates the Tyler Flowers of the Braves to the plate during a spring training match held earlier in the season.
Gary Sanchez scores the plates of the Braves' Tyler Flowers during a spring training match at the start of the season.Charles Wenzelberg

Yet, what differentiated Sanchez when he was a prominent hope, then that he was bursting into the majors scene, was his attack.

And last season, this part of his game has almost disappeared.

Sanchez, who was to flourish in a formation between Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, managed only 0.186 with 18 homers and 53 RBIs. It was limited to 89 games due to two trips on the disabled list with groin problems.

Although Sanchez showed flashes of power that many believe will make him the most offensive back of the game, he was mostly absent.

Since then, he underwent surgery on his left shoulder (unjected), which led head coach Marcus Thames to announce in early spring that Sanchez would regain form.

"It's his main shoulder, so you can not follow as you normally do when it's not good," said Thames. "He's healthy now, so I'm expecting him to be the same hitter as he was before."

The Yankees say it's a sportier Sanchez who has been working in Tampa since January.

"He arrived here a month earlier and looks good," Thames said. "He looks thin and strong."

Sanchez hit the bat well on Saturday against right-hander David Hess, hitting a sacrificial volley in the center in the first goal followed by a laser at center in the fourth followed by Cedric Mullins.

"It's probably the best I've had in the box so far," Sanchez said of his spring.

The Yankees are counting on Sanchez to at least get closer to the production he had provided following his August 2016 order and then most of 2017 before the fiasco last year.

If problems worry Sanchez, he does not realize it, according to Dellin Betances.

"I'm not really worried about him," Betances said on Saturday at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa. "He's had a tough year and when you're the type of player he is, it's obviously not what he wants."

Betances highlighted several times last season when Sanchez resembled his 2016 version, which lasted a month, from April 24 to May 22, during which he won 21 wins for 77 with six doubles, nine homers and 19 walks, with an OPS of 1.114 in 23 games.

Boone said Sanchez would be out on Sunday and play his first consecutive spring games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Betances is looking for Sanchez a "fresh start" in 2019.

"We know what type of player he is," said the right-hander. "He just has to go back to that."

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