Sanchez top player & rookie for August
The awards just keep coming for Gary Sanchez. The Yankees’ catcher, who won American League Player of the Week honors in consecutive weeks last month, was named AL Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month for August after putting up a slash line of .389/.458/.832 with 20 runs, nine doubles, 11 home runs, 21 RBI and 11walks in 24 games and 95 at-bats.
Sanchez is the first Yankees catcher ever to win either award and the first catcher on any club to win each award in the same month. No Yankees player had ever won both awards in the same month, and Sanchez was the first AL player to do so since White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu in July 2014.
“It feels great to win the award, but the reality is that the focus is to keep winning games right now,” Sanchez told reporters through a translator. “We want to keep winning games, and we want to keep winning series. This is a new month now, so that’s what we want to focus on.”
The previous Yankees awards winners were Curtis Granderson as Player of the Month in August 2011 and Robinson Cano as Rookie of the Month in September 2005. Sanchez is the first AL catcher to win Player of the Month since the Twins’ Joe Mauer in May 2009, his AL Most Valuable Player Award-winning season.
Sanchez has reached base safely in each of his past 17 games, which marks the longest on-base streak by a Yankees hitter this season and the longest streak since Chase Headley reached safely in 22 consecutive games from July 23 through Aug. 15 last year. Sanchez entered play Saturday night at Baltimore with a slash line of .426/.521/.967 with 13 runs, six doubles, nine home runs, 15 RBI, 11 walks and one stolen base in his past 16 games and 61 at-bats.
The Yankees hope to follow recent history after having lost the series opener at Camden Yards Friday night. Each of the three previous times the Yankees dropped a series opener, they went on to win the series: Aug. 9-11 at Boston, Aug. 22-24 at Seattle and Aug. 29-31 at Kansas City.
Pitcher Chad Green, who came out of Friday night’s 8-0 loss in the second inning because of elbow soreness, was diagnosed with a sprained right ulnar collateral ligament and a strained flexor tendon. He is likely out for the rest of the season.