Former Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez had a smashing Opening Day weekend on his debut with the Twins.
Sanchez hit his first home run of the regular season for his new club in Sunday’s 10-4 win over the Mariners, drilling a grand slam into the third deck in left field at the bottom of the first inning.
The catcher spun his racquet and gave the dugout a thumbs-up before circling the bases at Target Field to the sound of screaming fans welcoming him to Minnesota.
Sanchez’s Grand Slam gave the Twins a five-run lead back then. The 29-year-old later added an RBI double and drove in five of the Twins’ 10 heats in his second game with the team. Sanchez made the opening day finals on Friday, coming within inches of a walk-off home run.
After signing Sanchez as an international free agent in 2009, the Yankees traded two-time All-Star and third baseman Gio Urshela last month for third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt.
“With a swing like [that,] it gives you the confidence to go out and do anything,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Sanchez’s Grand Slam. “Our pitchers, our guys on the field, the at-bats that follow, that’s the kind of game changing game in a huge way and something that we needed. It was a big moment for Gary and all of us.”
After many ups and downs, especially behind the plate, the Yankees decided to walk away from Sanchez and prioritize defense at the catcher. Last season, Sanchez had 23 homers, 54 RBIs, a .204 batting average and a .730 OPS while committing six errors and allowing eight passes. He has 60 passing balls in his career, having led the league in 2017 (16) and 2018 (18).
Sunday’s win was the first of the season for the Twins. They wrap up a four-game set with the Mariners on Monday night.
https://nypost.com/2022/04/11/gary-sanchezs-first-twins-homer-was-a-monster-grand-slam/ Gary Sanchez’s first Twins homer was a monster grand slam