Gary Sanchez homered for a third straight game in Saturday’s 11-5 win over the Red Sox as he tries to put a sluggish start to 2020 behind him.
“It’s tough when you go through a slump,’’ Sanchez said through an interpreter. “You’ve got to go back to the basics and focus on the simple things and the roots of hitting. Once you get that, things change.”
For Sanchez, that means working on a high-velocity machine in the cage to make his swing more compact. Aaron Boone is optimistic he’s just about where he needs to be.
“He’s been close for about a week now,” Boone said. “I don’t think he’s all the way where he wants to be yet. He’s recognizing pitches better and getting his good swing off.”
If the catcher and Gleyber Torres can regain their form, the Yankees should be able to survive some of their recent injuries.
“For me, they’re starting to swing at better pitches,’’ hitting coach Marcus Thames said before Saturday’s game. “And with Gleyber and Gary, they’re a lot more balanced at the plate and their plans have been good. They’re starting to execute.”
In this abbreviated season, their early woes have been more pronounced.
“I always talk to them about not trying to get three hits in one at-bat,’’ Thames said. “And it’s gonna come around for the guys because they have a pretty good track record and I think it’s gonna show.”
It has lately, with Sanchez’s power resurfacing and Torres has reached base in seven straight games.
Thames credited Torres for an adjustment in his approach and how he was attacking at-bats of late.
“He got a little pull-happy at the beginning [of the year] and now he’s getting back to hitting to right-center and center field and not trying to do too much. When he cuts his swing down and tries to be a hitter instead of trying to be a power guy, the power is going to come.”
Sanchez and Torres have been working to improve defensively, with Sanchez refining his catching style and Torres becoming the starting shortstop.
Asked whether that work might have led to their struggles at the plate, Thames said sometimes it could, “but it’s my job to let them know how good they are.”
At times this season, that’s hardly been evident.
Thames, though, said he is confident their talent will continue to be on display.
“I know the batting average doesn’t show it, but if you’re chasing pitches or chasing hits you’re gonna get out of whack,’’ Thames said. “My job and [assistant hitting coach P.J. Pilittere]’s job: To let them know they’re a really good major league hitter, so let’s stick with the process. … Take singles when they come and do what the game calls for.”
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