4:00pm: Sanchez has a Grade 1 strain and is expected to miss three to four weeks of action, manager Aaron Boone tells reporters (Twitter link via Bryan Hoch of MLB.com).
June 25, 2:20pm: The Yankees did indeed place Sanchez on the disabled list today due to a right groin strain, the team announced. Higashioka is up from Triple-A to replace him on the roster. New York also announced that Clint Frazier has been optioned to Triple-A in favor of right-hander Giovanny Gallegos.
The Yankees fell to the Rays on Sunday, thus dropping three in a row in Tampa Bay, and Sanchez contributed to their defeat with an 0-for-4 performance. Sanchez then suffered an injury on the base paths in the top of the 10th inning, forcing him to exit the game in favor of backup Austin Romine.
At 50-25, the Yankees have gotten off to a great start this season, though Sanchez hasn’t been at his best. After establishing himself as one of the elite catchers in the game from 2016-17, Sanchez has opened this season with a .190/.291/.433 line in 265 plate appearances. That’s good enough for a 97 wRC+, which is respectable for a catcher, but it pales in comparison to his lifetime mark (131). Sanchez has still smacked 14 home runs and posted a .242 ISO, to his credit, and he has encountered significant batted-ball misfortune. The 25-year-old ranks fourth in the majors in average exit velocity on fly balls and line drives (99 mph) and 11th in barrels per plate appearance, per Statcast. He also entered Sunday with a terrific xwOBA (.372), easily eclipsing his actual wOBA (.313).
Behind the plate, the cannon-armed Sanchez has thrown out 28 percent of would-be base stealers – just beating out the 27 percent league average – and performed well as a pitch framer, according to Baseball Prospectus. BP has also approved of Romine’s framing work, and the longtime backup has seemingly found another gear at the plate. Romine, 29, has hit .305/.370/.524 with four homers in 92 PAs, also putting up a Sanchez-like xwOBA (.366).
With the Yankees tied atop the AL East with the Red Sox, they’ll hope Romine can continue his apparent breakout in a larger role for however much time Sanchez misses. Fellow backstop Kyle Higashioka will likely come up from Triple-A Scranton to back up Romine, Boone said (via Carig).