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Yankees’ Sanchez returns from DL, to start vs. Cubs

MLB: New York Yankees at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees star catcher Gary Sanchez has returned from the DL and will start for the club today as they begin a three-game set with the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs, the team announced.

Sanchez had been sidelined for the last 21 games with a right biceps strain after he suffered the injury by fouling off a fastball in the fifth inning of the Yankees’ 5-4 loss to the Orioles on April 8. Sanchez was taken out of the game after still feeling pain following a practice swing.

Despite him being out, the Yankees went 16-5, averaged 6.2 runs per game and pitched to a 3.46 ERA as a team. The Yankees had Austine Romine and Kyle Higashioka split time behind the plate in Sanchez’s absence, but they also saw a big power surge from rookie outfielder Aaron Judge, who has blasted 13 home runs with 27 RBI and scored 28 runs while slashing .330/.433/.818.

After a three-game rehab assignment at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Sanchez will try to get back to playing the way he did as a rookie last year. He smacked 20 homers and had 42 RBI while slashing .299/.376/.657 in 229 plate appearances. Sanchez’s instant success helped him finish second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting and give the Yankees a new face to their franchise.

Sanchez has only gone 3-for-20 at the plate (.150 avg.) this season after he had a great spring training in which he batted .373/.429/.765 while smacking five homers and driving in 16 runs. But, he seemed to be turning his play back in the right direction after he hit his first homer in New York’s 6-5 loss to Baltimore on April 7.