Yanks add Sanchez to crowded IL

NEW YORK — Another day, another New York Yankees star to the injured list.

With 11 other players already on their IL, the Yankees announced Friday afternoon that catcher Gary Sanchez would be joining them, retroactive to Thursday, after suffering a left calf strain earlier this week.

Sanchez will be replaced on the active roster by catcher Kyle Higashioka, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In five minor league games this year, Higashioka is batting .222 (4-for-18) with four RBIs.

  • Half their offense is on the shelf, not to mention their ace. Time for Who, What and I Don’t Know to pick up the pinstripes.
  • Already playing with an injury-wracked roster, the Bombers have added to their problems by letting two close games slip away.

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Austin Romine will be the regular starter in Sanchez’s absence.

The IL stint comes as somewhat of a surprise considering both Sanchez and manager Aaron Boone expressed optimism Wednesday that he would be starting Friday’s series opener at home against the Chicago White Sox.

After catching Monday’s game at Houston, Sanchez served as designated hitter Tuesday night and then came off the bench as a pinch hitter Wednesday. New York was off Thursday.

Boone said he benched Sanchez on Wednesday as a way of trying to give him an extra off day ahead of this weekend’s series. The manager also indicated tests were run on Sanchez in Houston after the catcher complained of some calf tightness following Monday’s game.

The timing of the move couldn’t be worse for the Yankees, who had been getting valuable offensive production from Sanchez. Through just 11 games, Sanchez has 11 hits — six home runs — and 11 RBIs. He hit three homers against Baltimore last Sunday — the first time he’s hit three in a game in his career.

Seven of his 11 base hits this season also have been of the extra-base variety.

The Yankees officially have 12 players on the IL, including the likes of All-Stars Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Troy Tulowitzki and former MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Last year’s American League Rookie of the Year runner-up Miguel Andujar also is currently shelved, as is shortstop Didi Gregorius and center fielder Aaron Hicks.

One of the injured Yankees, starting pitcher CC Sabathia, is expected to come off the IL either Friday or Saturday morning. Following rehab from offseason knee and heart procedures, Sabathia is scheduled to make his first start of the season Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

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