Let’s get conspiracy brain! What a coincidence that the New York Yankees revealed their two biggest lineup changes of 2021 within minutes of announcing the Rougned Odor trade.
Thought we wouldn’t catch that, did ya?!
Either way, fans were going to be greeted with Gary Sanchez on the bench and Brett Gardner taking over for Aaron Hicks in the three-hole on Tuesday night.
Fans have been groaning early on about Hicks’ placement in the lineup, so they get their wish on as the veteran will be on the bench. But what’s the deal with Sanchez here?
On the surface, it seems simple. Sanchez has caught the first four games of the season, which warrants a day off more than anything. But once again, the Yankees can’t do PR correctly.
Why would you bench him for Gerrit Cole’s second start of the year after assuring fans that Sanchez would be catching the team’s ace all season long?
The drama that stemmed from Cole having a “personal catcher” in Kyle Higashioka last season put more pressure on Sanchez and it certainly did not help his mindset during a very trying 2020 campaign. Now we’re already doing this to kick off 2021?
Couldn’t Higgy have caught Jordan Montgomery on Monday? Or Domingo German on Sunday?
Alright, we’ll cool it. Perhaps the Yankees just figured this was best for both parties since they know Cole and Higgy have a good relationship. Give Gary the rest he needs. Keep the best continuity possible between the mound and behind the plate.
But fans won’t forget this day if the pairing becomes a trend. After all, Sanchez hasn’t exactly been great defensively to start off 2021.
As for Hicks, it’s just a regular day off, and he probably needs one the most. He’s batting .067 through the first four games and wasn’t exactly given a stress-free start to the year when manager Aaron Boone thrust him into the three-hole, which was immediately met with outrage.
But this is what happens when your team doesn’t have enough lefty bats. Hicks, who is a walks machine, is the most logical option if the Yankees want to mix it up there.
And speaking of Boone, he had this to say about slugger Aaron Judge on Tuesday, and it’ll yet be another comment fans will be forced to keep an eye on.
Judge was removed from Monday’s 7-0 in favor of Mike Tauchman, which felt like a sensible decision since he has yet to get a day off and the Bombers were blowing out the Orioles. But how many times in the past have we been told Judge was “fine” only to later learn he’d be out for weeks with some sort of new injury we never heard of?
We’re not assuming that’s the case, but like we said: eyes peeled and ears on the ground.
Tuesday night. 6:35 p.m. Cole and the Yanks vs the O’s. That’s all that matters right now.