Yankees catcher Gary Sánchez is set to undergo a left shoulder debridement operation, and will miss three months to recover. He is expected to be ready for Opening Day. The shoulder injury apparently has been bothering Sánchez since 2017.
Brian Cashman made the announcement to reporters from the GM Meetings taking place in Carlsbad, California. The surgery will take place sometime this week, and will consist of team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad removing damaged tissue from Sánchez’s left AC joint.
Cashman noted that he would be comfortable with Austin Romine and Kyle Higashioka catching in case of a setback to Sánchez. The team also picked up veteran Ryan Lavarnway on a minor-league deal and will likely sign more catchers to similar deals.
“It may very well be something that affected him performance-wise,” Cashman said. “I can’t rule that out. Now is the time to take care of it.”
Sánchez had a terrible 2018, hitting just .186/.291/.406 (89 wRC+). He saw his infield fly ball rate and soft contact rate increase. This injury could explain the significant difference in his quality of contact. It’s admirable that he tried to play through the injury, but it’s better for the 2019 team that he shows up in the healthiest condition possible.
Aaron Judge had surgery on his left shoulder last offseason, and showed now ill effects during the 2018 season. Now, it’s Gary Sánchez‘s turn to power through a procedure like this and get back to his MVP candidate form from 2017.