- Marly Rivera is a writer for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.
TAMPA, Fla. — Gary Sanchez said he is hopeful that he will have no issues to return to full practice after feeling tightness in his lower back, but the New York Yankees’ All-Star catcher is being cautious and taking a few days off to rest.
Sanchez, 27, is the latest Yankee to deal with an ailment during spring training, seemingly picking up where the team left off last year, when New York put a major-league-record 30 players on the injured list. Sanchez was scratched from batting practice Saturday after starting two consecutive games for the first time this spring and didn’t participate in full practice Sunday.
“It’s been a little tight, a little uncomfortable. After catching those games back-to-back, I just thought it was better for me to take care of it now. This is the right time to take care of anything,” Sanchez said Sunday when addressing the problem in his lower back. “You don’t want to rush anything, especially in spring training. The idea is to take a couple of days and see how it goes. Hopefully keep progressing.”
Outfielder Aaron Judge is out indefinitely after being diagnosed with a fractured rib, which has kept him from taking batting practice or playing in any Grapefruit League games. Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton will likely open the season on the injured list while dealing with a calf strain.
Already without starter James Paxton through at least April after the left-hander underwent microscopic lumbar surgery, the Yankees also lost All-Star pitcher Luis Severino to Tommy John surgery.
It’s unclear when Sanchez will return to spring training action. In discussing the injury, manager Aaron Boone wouldn’t commit to a timeline but said he wasn’t “too concerned” about it, adding that Sanchez could be available for Monday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The catcher, who is 1-for-17 at the plate this spring, downplayed the discomfort having any effect on his swing. Sanchez also didn’t rule out that his lower back tightness could be a result of working on a new one-knee-down stance with new Yankees catching instructor Tanner Swanson.
“I feel good receiving, definitely feel good,” Sanchez said. “At the same time, I don’t know if [the back soreness] is a result of that. I just don’t know. At the end of the day, I just want to be healthy. If I’m healthy, I’m able to make adjustments and get to where I want to be.”
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