By Steve Svetovich
Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders catcher Gary Sanchez is a part of the New York Yankees future. That’s a given.
And with two hit-less at bats in 2015 and four hitless at bats with the parent club this season, all Sanchez can continue to do is work hard as he awaits another opportunity.
With current New York Yankees catcher Brian McCann signed for three more years, he realizes his opportunity to start for the Yankees could take a few years, but he does envision becoming a part of the parent club in time.
Patience is a virtue, and Sanchez has patience.
During a personal interview through an interpreter with The Dunmorean in the RailRiders clubhouse following a 1-0 win over Toledo, he showed his positive attitude.
“I want to continue to work hard, stay positive and do my job,” he said.
“When my opportunity comes with the big league club in New York, I will take it.
“In the meantime, I really don’t think about it. I just continue to work hard to be a better catcher and hitter. I try to focus on working with the pitchers.”
Sanchez, who does not speak English, had just caught Chad Green for most of the 1-0 win, a contest in which Yankees star first baseman Mark Teixeira played as a DH in a rehab assignment.
“Green was able to command his pitches. He had great control and was able to locate his pitches where he wanted to. Our relief pitching did the same. The location of pitches was great tonight.”
The rising star, born in Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic, said it was a real treat to play with Teixeira who has 397 career big league home runs.
“Playing with Tex was really good,” he said. “We were able to see how he takes care of himself and goes about his routine. It was great to see his work ethic. He was a good influence on us. The players were watching to see how he does things. It was great to have him with us. He is a real good guy.”
Sanchez, 23, said he will continue to focus on the present. “The future will take care of itself if I work hard.”
Green commented in a post game interview how great he felt on the mound and how nice it was to have Sanchez as his receiver throughout the game. “It was good having Sanchez there.”
Sanchez batted .295 with six homers and 25 RBIs in 35 games with the RailRiders last season.
He started the 2015 baseball season with AA Trenton where he batted .262 with 12 homers, 35 RBIs and 50 runs scored in 56 games.
Sanchez, who bats and throws right, was signed by the Yankees as an international free agent June 20, 2009. He was signed for $2.5 million.
Prior to the 2010 season, Baseball America ranked him as the Yankees seventh best prospect.
He began his professional baseball career playing in the Gulf Coast League.
On August 18, 2010, he was promoted to the Staten Island Yankees of the Class A-Short Season New York-Penn League. He hit an impressive .329 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 47 games.
Prior to 2011, he was ranked as the second best Yankees prospect and 30th overall by Baseball America.
He played for the Charleston RiverDogs of the Class A South Atlantic League in 2011. He played in 82 games before a finger injury ended his season. Still, he hit .256 with 17 homers and 52 RBIs.
He began the 2012 season with Charleston before being promoted to the Tampa Yankees of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League.
He began the 2013 season in Tampa where he hit .254 with 13 homers and 61 RBIs. Then came the promotion to the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League Aug. 3, 2013.
He began the 2015 season with Trenton, played in the All Star Futures Game and then was promoted to the RailRiders where he homered in his first at bat.
Following the RailRiders 2015 season, he was promoted to the parent club where he made his MLB debut as a pinch hitter Oct. 3, 2015. He was included on the Yankees 25-man roster for the AL Wild Card game.
Following the 2015 season, he played in the Arizona Fall League. He was named the Fall Stars Game MVP.. He was named the second best prospect in the Arizona Fall League by Baseball America.
He challenged for a backup catching spot on the Yankees roster in the spring before losing out to veteran Austine Romine.
Still, the future is very bright for the young catching prospect.
He was batting .275 with seven homers and 30 RBIs this season at press time.
With a little more hard work, the bright lights of New York are on the horizon.