Kyle Higashioka, Gerrit Cole’s personal catcher since last season, picked up two hits at the plate while Cole got back on track in a much-needed win for the Yankees on Wednesday night.
But those hits by Higashioka raised his batting average to just .143 over his last 19 games, as his hot start to the season continues to drift further into the rearview. Meanwhile, Gary Sanchez has looked like his old self of late, hitting .353 with a 1.054 OPS over his last 11 games.
Which begs the question: has Boone considered putting Sanchez behind the plate for future Cole starts?
“Not really,” Boone told Carton & Roberts on Thursday. “Again, I think at some point Gary will catch Gerrit, and the reality is they’ve done a good job. On Opening Day I thought they worked really well together.”
In the lone game that Sanchez caught Cole this year, Cole went 5.1 innings, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out eight. Higashioka has been behind the dish the rest of the way, serving as Cole’s battery mate through a dominant stretch following that Opening Day outing, and through recent trials like the five runs he allowed against the Rays over five innings last week. But Boone plans to keep Higashioka and Cole together, even if Sanchez continues to heat up.
“Gary’s hot and will remain hot, we hope, and he’s gonna catch a ton, especially with the way he’s been catching and hitting,” Boone said. “But turns through the rotation, Higgy is going get in there too, and Higgy obviously did a great job [Wednesday] and got a couple of hits.”
If the season gets into the latter months and this current trend continues, maybe Boone will turn to Sanchez on a Cole night, but for now, expect the catching situation to remain the same.
“That’s possible, but again, I look at it as…if Gary’s rolling and you have to have his bat in the lineup, he’s still not gonna play five or seven games in a row,” Boone said. “So there’s a time he’s gonna be off, and the repor between Gerrit and Higgy has been such a good tandem for us, so I kind of look at it now as the one day I can get Gary down.”