After Monday’s non-inspirational Yankees victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, one of the buoys who’s kept this bullpen afloat these past few weeks, Stephen Ridings, was returned to the minors.
While we wish it didn’t have to be that way, Ridings’ demotion was wholly necessary, as he was a COVID replacement while with the MLB team and his exit could only mean that the man he’d stood in for was ready to return.
One day after welcoming back Gerrit Cole, the Yankees appear to be ready to activate both Jordan Montgomery and Gary Sánchez off the reserve list, just in time for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox.
Based on what we saw during his Double-A rehab assignment, though, it won’t be quite the same Gary Sánchez.
Sánchez, out since Aug. 5 following a positive test, showed up in Somerset, NJ looking noticeably slimmer for his rehab assignment.
Though it’s felt like forever that we’ve been without Sánchez’s power and poise, 12 days isn’t a very long stretch. Needless to say, we hope the All-Star catcher’s symptoms weren’t too devastating, because it certainly appears as if his physique has taken a hit.
Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez looks noticeably slimmer post-COVID.
Prior to his sudden departure, Sánchez was in the midst of a noticeable rebound, reaching a 113 OPS+ with 17 homers one year after he’d posted a lowly 64 OPS+ in a stunningly poor shortened season.
With every day, though, that shortened season feels more and more invalid, as America once again becomes accustomed to the roller coaster ride of a full 162.
Hopefully, Sánchez’s absence of moderate length provided a midseason breather. However, it’s difficult to outright proclaim it “relaxing,” especially considering what his physique now looks like on the other side.
While rehabbing, he even appears to have sported the exact same jersey as Corey Kluber, someone who wasn’t exactly a perfect physical match for The Kraken two weeks prior.
Sánchez will hopefully play one of the Yankees’ two games against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday, and will be eased back into the lineup as best Aaron Boone can in the midst of a hotly-contested playoff race.
Hopefully, his body is able to bounce back to the levels he expects to reach.