“I think what is hard for them to prepare for here is what they face inside the clubhouse with the media,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi was talking about how rookies adjust to being Yankees. At times, Sanchez had fallen short as he went through the minors, from not being in the best shape to not having the right attitude.
In 2011, the New York Daily News reported that Sanchez refused to enter a game as a replacement and declined to warm up a pitcher after losing playing time to John Ryan Murphy at Class A. Just two years ago, he was held out of two games at Double-A Trenton because he broke unspecified team rules.
“I don’t necessarily think when you are a highly touted prospect, the little hiccups that you have become public, as opposed to the other guys,” Girardi said. “We all got in trouble when we were 17 years old, 18, 19. We wish we could probably do it over.”
Sanchez’s first impression as a Yankee has been strong in the clubhouse. On the field, he has obviously looked as though he belongs, but it is also how he is taking instruction and adjusting to the tests of being the center of attention in pinstripes. Sanchez said he is in a better place at 23 than ever before.
“The main thing when I was younger I didn’t have the same experience I have today,” Sanchez said. “Today, I’m a more mature person and player.”
At 6-foot-7, 275 pounds, Judge is a giant. The Yankees have watched his development since he was in high school. Before his senior year, they saw him mature on the field in the Cape Cod League.
“He really played with a grace,” Damon Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ vice president of amateur scouting, said of the 24-year-old. “He was flowing, which a lot of big guys don’t have.”
Sanchez and Judge have arrived in the majors in different ways. Sanchez has grown up in the Yankees’ system, while Judge has needed to polish his skills on the field.
“I think the Yankees go out and get guys who want to win,” Judge said.
The first item on the list is talent, but after that the Yankees try to find attitude. Sanchez and Judge, at least for now, seem to have the right ones, though they found them via different paths.
“You can’t control what their longevity and impact will be, but we do think we have some guys who have pretty solid makeup,” Oppenheimer said.
CLEVELAND — Once his long drive caromed into no-man’s-land, Tyler Naquin kept going. And going. And going.
Naquin sprinted around the bases, stumbled toward home plate and scored with a head-first dive.
Then he was mobbed by his Cleveland teammates — they all wanted to celebrate a game-winning inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning.
Even by walk-off standards, the Indians’ 3-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night was a stunner.
“That was a pretty cool moment,” Naquin said. “I almost fell down there for a second. I wanted to just keep running.”
It was the first walk-off inside-the-park homer since Angel Pagan did it for San Francisco against Colorado in 2013, according to baseballreference.com.
Naquin’s mad dash capped a two-run rally. Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth in a matchup of American League division leaders.
Closer Roberto Osuna (2-2) retired the first batter, but Jose Ramirez tied it with a home run.
Naquin followed with a fly that hit the top of the right-field wall, above the leap of Michael Saunders. The ball bounced away at an angle, and center fielder Melvin Upton Jr. gave chase as Naquin rounded second.