NEW YORK — Another day, another New York Yankees star to the injured list.
With 11 other players already on their IL, the Yankees announced Friday afternoon that catcher Gary Sanchez would be joining them, retroactive to Thursday, after suffering a left calf strain earlier this week.
Sanchez will be replaced on the active roster by catcher Kyle Higashioka, who was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. In five minor league games this year, Higashioka is batting .222 (4-for-18) with four RBIs.
Austin Romine will be the regular starter in Sanchez’s absence.
The IL stint comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering both Sanchez and manager Aaron Boone expressed optimism Wednesday that he would be starting Friday’s series opener at home against the Chicago White Sox.
After catching Monday’s game at Houston, Sanchez served as designated hitter Tuesday night and then came off the bench as a pinch hitter Wednesday. New York was off Thursday.
Boone said he benched Sanchez on Wednesday as a way of trying to give him an extra off day ahead of this weekend’s series. The manager also indicated tests were run on Sanchez in Houston after the catcher complained of some calf tightness following Monday’s game.
The timing of the move couldn’t be worse for the Yankees, who had been getting valuable offensive production from Sanchez. Through just 11 games, Sanchez has 11 hits — six home runs — and 11 RBIs. He hit three homers against Baltimore last Sunday — the first time he hit three in a game in his career.
Seven of his 11 base hits this season also have been for extra bases.
The Yankees officially have 12 players on the IL, including All-Stars Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Troy Tulowitzki and former MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Miguel Andujar, last year’s American League Rookie of the Year runner-up, also is shelved, as is shortstop Didi Gregorius and center fielder Aaron Hicks.
One of the injured Yankees, starting pitcher CC Sabathia, is expected to come off the IL either Friday or Saturday morning. Following rehab from offseason knee and heart procedures, Sabathia is scheduled to make his first start of the season Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
On Friday, Boone said Betances, who went on the IL last month with right shoulder inflammation, will have an MRI on his shoulder after not feeling 100 percent while throwing a simulated game.