Mike Francesa Also Interviews Newly Acquired Pitcher Sonny Gray

NEW YORK (WFAN) — Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes the recent offensive struggles of Aaron Judge and the defensive struggles of Gary Sanchez are now in the rearview.

Against the Mets this week, Judge appears to have snapped out of his slump. In the first three games of the Subway Series, the slugger batted .364 (4-for-11) with two homers.

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“I think he got a little off mechanically, and very similar to a tall pitcher, when they get off mechanically, I think it just seems like things can really go haywire,” Girardi said during his weekly appearance on Mike Francesa’s WFAN show Thursday. “And I think he’s gotten himself back on track.”

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees hits a solo home run in t he fourth inning against the New York Mets during interleague play on August 16, 2017 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Sanchez, the Yankees’ star catcher, was benched for a couple of games for failing to knock down balls behind the plate. But Girardi said he likes what he’s seen from Sanchez since returning to the lineup.

“I think he’s had a really good 10 days, from what I’ve seen,” Girardi said. “I think he’s caught very well, and he continues to improve. And this is a process. Exclude pitcher, it is the hardest position to break into as a young player. … You see so many different types of pitchers, and you’ve got new guys that come up that maybe you’ve never seen or two new starters that we’ve traded for that you’ve never seen, and you’ve got to try to understand them.

“I think he’s played really, really well the last 10 days and will continue to improve.”

Now Girardi finds himself addressing the struggles of closer Aroldis Chapman, who has a 13.50 ERA in his last three appearances, including blowing a save in a loss to the Red Sox on Sunday night.

“I just think that in a sense that he’s lost a little bit of his command at times, for whatever reason,” Girardi said. “I think the other day, he probably threw too many sliders after people were saying he didn’t throw enough. And there’s a healthy mixture there with him, and we’ve got to get him back to that and just doing what he does.

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“I’m sure his confidence has been tested here a little bit, but this guy has been great, and he’ll be great again.”

To listen to the full interview with Girardi, click on the audio player above.

GRAY EXCITED TO BE A YANK

Just before talking to Girardi, Francesa interview pitcher Sonny Gray, whom the Yankees acquired in a deadline trade with the Oakland A’s.

Gray said he’s excited about joining the Yankees “where you’re expected to win.” He also said he’s relieved to have put all the trade speculation behind him.

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“It was weird,” Gray said. “It felt like it went on forever. It kind of went on a little bit last year and then it carried into the offseason, and then this year obviously every single day I showed up to the park wondering if it was going to be my last day. It was a little bit different. But at the same time, I knew I had to go out and pitch well in order to have a chance to come to a team like the Yankees.”

To listen to the full interview with Gray, click on the audio player below.

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