Gary Sanchez's lack of hustle running to first base on his game-ending groundout cost the Yankees in Monday's 7-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Sanchez was slow out of the batter's box when he hit into a game-ending 4-6-3 groundout with the bases loaded and two outs. Aaron Hicks beat a toss to second base, however shortstop Willy Adames had enough time to regroup and throw to first to beat Sanchez by a step.
Manager Aaron Boone told reporters he would need to see the tape to examine Sanchez's hustle. Though Sanchez returned on Friday from a groin injury that kept him out nearly four weeks, Boone said he felt Sanchez was healthy enough to run.
"I think I could have done a better job for sure there running," Sanchez said after the game, according to The Athletic's Marc Carig.
However, the ninth inning wasn't the first time Monday when Sanchez's lack of hustle cost New York.
In the first inning, he lightly jogged to get a passed ball, which allowed Jake Bauers to score from second base. And in the sixth inning, Sanchez hit a line drive off the wall to drive in Hicks, but only got a single out of it.
Sanchez went 1-for-5 and is 1-for-14 since coming off the disabled list, as his batting average has dropped to .188.
"You know, you learn a lot in this game," Sanchez said, according to Carig. "And this is one of those instances where you learn from it, you know? You put it behind (you) and you look forward to tomorrow."
The Yankees have covered for Sanchez long enough.
The Yankees catcher should find himself on the bench tomorrow (minimally) after two extremely poor non-hustle plays that cost the team two runs in a one-run game.
Sanchez is consistently presented to us by the Yankees management as a player that busts his butt behind the scenes. As true as that may be, the display Monday night behind the plate when he loafed after a passed ball, which allowed a runner to score from second base and then failing to run at max effort on a ground ball with two outs in the ninth inning reeks of laziness. Sanchez's actions are completely inexcusable.
Sanchez has been tagged with the lazy label before in his career and it took a shakeup of sorts to set him straight. Boone does not seem like the type of manager that will get in Sanchez's face a rip him. However, one or more of Sanchez's teammates better be tearing him up in the clubhouse right now. This cannot happen from any player on a team, let alone one of the club's supposed stars.
It was a bad look for Sanchez. The entirety of the baseball watching world saw it, and the Yankees can no longer ignore it.