Manager Aaron Boone said Thursday that who starts at catcher between Higashioka and Gary Sanchez will be a "day-to-day situation," Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reports. Higashioka has already cut substantially into the struggling Sanchez's playing time, going 7-for-21 with three homers while making six starts behind the dish since Sept.11. Though Sanchez obviously has the edge over Higashioka with regard to postseason experience, it sounds like the catching duties will at least begin as a fluid situation when the Yankees open their wild-card series Tuesday.
Higashioka went 3-for-4 with three home runs, five RBI and three runs scored Wednesday against the Blue Jays. Higashioka emerged as an unlikely hero, delivering the second multi-homer game of his career. He went yard in the third, sixth and seventh innings, bringing his total on the campaign to four. Higashioka remains the backup catcher in New York and has only 36 plate appearances to this point in the season.
Higashioka went 1-for-3 with a two-run home run during a 6-0 win over the Orioles in the first game of Friday's doubleheader. He took Alex Cobb deep in the second inning, giving Higashioka his first long ball and first RBI of the season. The 30-year-old has seen an uptick in playing time due to Gary Sanchez's struggles, starting five of the last 12 games, but as yet Higashioka hasn't been able to consistently take advantage of his opportunities.
Higashioka (oblique) was reinstated from the injured list Tuesday. Higashioka had been out since early August with a strained right oblique. He'd only appeared in three games prior to suffering the injury, going 2-for-9 at the plate. He'll split time with Erik Kratz behind starting backstop Gary Sanchez for now.
Higashioka (oblique) is "really close" to being ready to return and could do so in the next few days, Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media reports. Higashioka has been on the injured list since Aug. 8 but has recently begun to ramp up his activity. "Kyle's really close. I would expect him to be joining us in the next couple of days," manager Aaron Boone indicated Sunday. Kuty notes that the Yankees could be faced with having to either designate current backup catcher Erik Kratz for assignment or keep three catchers on the squad when Higashioka returns.
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