TAMPA — Yankees catchers threw to bases Saturday and first-year catching instructor Tanner Swanson’s new lower base setup was on display.
While six other catchers participated in the drill, Gary Sanchez drew the most eyeballs.
The lower setup is designed to improve Sanchez’ ability to frame borderline pitches in the bottom of the strike zone but not interfere with his improved blocking skills or take anything away from an above-average throwing arm. It also may reduce the stress on Sanchez’s legs, which have suffered muscle injuries the past two seasons that landed him on the injured list a combined four times.
According to Swanson, Sanchez’s improved blocking led to a dip in pitch framing a year ago.
“His blocking got better and we saw regression in framing,’’ Swanson said following a workout at Steinbrenner Field. “There is a tradeoff in a lot of ways. You try to maximize one and there is a give and take.’’
Swanson’s challenge is to get his catchers to find a position where they can excel in framing the low pitches, blocking balls and throwing to bases.
The lower setup position is equal with both hips.