(Reuters) - Dominican rookie Gary Sanchez continued the blistering start to his New York Yankees career by blasting two home runs in Monday's 7-5 loss to Seattle.
The 23-year-old, who was called up to the Major Leagues on Aug. 3, now has eight homers in his first 19 games, setting a Yankees record for the fastest to reach that total.
A highly touted prospect as a catcher, the Yankees signed Sanchez as an international free agent when he was 16. He is batting .385 with eight home runs and 15 RBIs. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI on Monday, with homers coming in the first and sixth innings.
Prior to the game on Monday, Sanchez was named American League Player of the Week, the first Yankees player to win the award this season. “It means a lot to me, especially now at the beginning of my career here,” Sanchez told reporters through an interpreter. “And I’m just hoping for better things to come.” Sanchez’s emergence could not come at a better time for the Yankees, who are losing Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira to retirement and are clinging to slim playoff hopes.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants to see Sanchez at the plate as much as possible.
“I want him to get at-bats because he's been so productive,” said Girardi. “Do I think he could be a three hitter? Yes I do. Do I think he could be a four hitter? I think he could do that too. I just love what he's doing with the bat.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford)