The Yankees currently sport the highest collective home run total in the league, and thanks to catcher-slugger Gary Sanchez, they’re now within three home runs of the all-time team record in major-league history. At the top of the third inning during Friday’s Yankees-Red Sox opener, Sanchez unleashed a 446-foot bomb off of Boston left-hander Brian Johnson, his 18th of the year and the 261st by a Yankees player in 2018:
The solo home run cleared the Green Monster and helped the Yankees to a 1-0 lead over their AL East rivals. They got an additional boost from Giancarlo Stanton‘s broken-bat RBI single later in the inning, as well as Gleyber Torres‘ smoking two-run fly ball to center field in the fourth.
Sanchez, 25, entered this weekend’s series batting a mere .182/.284/.393 with 17 homers and a .677 OPS through 366 PA this season. While it hasn’t been his most productive year at the plate, especially given his noticeable dip in power, he’s also weathered more than his usual share of injuries and disabled list stints. He missed around nine weeks of the season after rehabbing a persistent groin strain and has yet to heat up as the club prepares to enter their second consecutive playoff run.
As a team, the Yankees will try to eclipse the league home run record when they wrap up their 2018 campaign on Sunday. They’ll need to squeeze another four home runs out of their lineup in order to push past the 264-home run mark set by the Mariners in 1997.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.