Gary Sanchez returned to New York on Friday, still trying to revive a career that has been going in the wrong direction for most of the past four years.
The former Yankees catcher, who once looked destined for greatness, is now with his third franchise since leaving The Bronx and has been humbled.
“In my time with the Yankees, I wanted to be in the lineup every single day,” Sanchez said through an interpreter at Citi Field after the Mets called him up from Triple-A Syracuse and activated him to the major league roster. “I just want to contribute any way I can here.”
He has mostly chosen not to think much of his time with the Yankees, including when asked about remarks his former agent, Francisco Marquez, made during the offseason at The Athletic.
“The most important aspect of the 2022 season is that at the end of the season Gary was finally and completely able to shed the emotional baggage he had acquired during his previous two seasons with the Yankees,” Marquis told the site. Whoever gets Gary this outside will benefit from the rebirth of the Kraken.”
Sanchez has since changed agents, hiring Melvin Roman.
Asked about the move, and the idea that his time with the Yankees might have affected him negatively, Sanchez said, “Some things didn’t go the way they were supposed to, but the past is the past. Players change agents all the time. My focus now.”
He was not in the squad on Friday against the Guardians, with manager Buck Showalter opting to let him settle in before including him in the squad.
The Mets opted to go Sanchez with Tomas Nido on the list with dry eye syndrome and Omar Narváez still on IL with a strained calf.
Francisco Alvarez has emerged as the starter behind the plate.
The Mets selected catcher Michael Perez to Syracuse to make room for Sanchez.
The 30-year-old Sanchez, who was traded from the Yankees to the Twins in the spring of 2022 and once again didn’t fare well, was not offered a contract from Minnesota after the season.
He signed a minor league contract with the Giants in April, but could not mount an offense in Triple-A Sacramento and requested his release.
Sanchez then signed with the Mets.
“I didn’t get spring training and I didn’t have timing,” Sanchez said of his time with the Giants, as he had only . 501 OPS in 69 games. “When I got to Syracuse, I had the rhythm of the game and got better at bat.”
In 37 games with Syracuse, where he has played since May 9, Sanchez has racked up a 1.014 OPS.
Nido started his rehab assignment on Friday and Narvaez is expected to be back in 2-3 weeks, so Showalter was asked if Sanchez was auditioning for a job.
“I hope it makes it difficult for us,” Showalter said. “He got a chance to play in the big leagues again when it looked like there might not be another chance. I think he understands what this opportunity is and she needs to take advantage of it. I think that’s a positive thing we have. The challenge for me is giving him those opportunities to do that.”
Sanchez is looking forward to it.
“It feels good to be back in New York after all those years with the Yankees,” Sanchez said. “As long as I am healthy, I can do a lot of good things.”