No Yankee position player has ever taken longer to get his first major league hit than Kyle Higashioka, but the catcher broke through in style.
Higashioka snapped an 0-for-22 streak to start his career with a home run off David Price in Sunday’s 11-1 win over the Red Sox in The Bronx.
Playing without Gary Sanchez — on the disabled list with a strained right groin — and Austin Romine — held out after leaving Saturday’s loss with a cramp in his left leg — the Yankees started Higashioka, who first got called up last year.
Not only did Higashioka guide Luis Severino through 6 ²/₃ scoreless innings, he turned on a Price pitch to start the bottom of the fourth and drilled it into the second deck in left.
It was one of five home runs surrendered by the Boston lefty in the rout.
After Higashioka circled the bases, he got a quick congratulations from Brett Gardner in the on-deck circle, but received the silent treatment in the dugout.
He was eventually mobbed by his teammates after giving the Yankees a 7-0 lead.
Higashioka insisted the rough start at the plate wasn’t weighing on him.
“The thing I was most concerned about was getting a win against the Red Sox,’’ the 28-year-old said.
“That’s the kind of power we’ve seen from him at times,’’ Aaron Boone said. “That was a big-time shot for your first hit.”
As for Sanchez, the Yankees figure to be without him perhaps through the All-Star break. Although Sanchez said he feels better than he thought he would, he still hasn’t run.
The Yankees are likely to go with Romine and Higashioka until then.
Romine believed he could have started Sunday, the Yankees opted to be cautious and go with Higashioka, hitless in 18 at-bats a year ago and 0-for-4 this season before his blast off Price.
Boone said the Yankees “dodged a bullet” with Romine, who underwent an MRI after Saturday’s game. They feared the injury could be more serious, but Boone indicated Romine would start Monday against the Braves.
General manager Brian Cashman doesn’t expect to add more catching depth in Sanchez’s absence, citing a lack of talent at the position.
Neither catcher at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Wilkin Castillo or Francisco Diaz, is on the 40-man roster — and Neil Walker served as the emergency catcher Sunday, but he hasn’t caught in a game since 2006, when he was in the minors.
Perhaps of greater concern is the fact Sanchez has been unable to get going offensively and already suffered injuries to his groin and calf.
“I’m trying to get strength in the region where the injury occurred,’’ Sanchez said through an interpreter. He added he feels no pain or discomfort, but he’s been limited to playing catch and working in the gym.
Asked if he felt he needed to make any changes in order to keep his legs healthy, Sanchez said: “It’s hard to say. You never get a warning. It just happens. … My mind is fine. Nobody wants to be injured. Using the injury to refresh my mind is not what I want.”
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