MIAMI — It didn’t take long for Gary Sánchez to be back in a major league lineup.
A day after he was claimed off waivers from the Mets, Sanchez started at catcher and batted seventh in his first game with the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
The former Yankee was wearing No. 99 and went 1 for 4 with an infield hit in a 9-4 victory.
Sanchez started the season playing for the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate before agreeing to part ways with the team unwilling to give him a big-league chance.
Then Sanchez signed with the Mets, where he did it make to the majors after a stint in Triple-A Syracuse.
Sanchez appeared in three games last week — going 1-for-6 — before being released when Tomas Nido came off the IL.
“It’s been a little difficult but what’s happened has been in the past,” Sánchez said of his team changes, speaking through a translator. “Now I am looking to the future here in San Diego. I’m focused on now.”
Sánchez, a two-time All-Star, struck out three times and had an RBI for the Mets, looking shaky at times behind the plate.
“You come to a point in time in a season where you try to incrementally upgrade,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said. “I know he’s been through a few teams here recently but does have a history of performing.”
With the disappointing Padres getting meager offensive production at catcher, Sanchez could get a longer look in San Diego.
Austin Nola was batting .131 with three extra-base hits and a paltry .434 OPS in 39 games.
His part-time platoon partner, second-stringer Brett Sullivan, was hitting .170 with four extra-base hits and a .482 OPS in 21 games since getting called up from the minors April 16.
Luis Campusano has been on the injured list since April 17 and is expected to be sidelined until around the All-Star break following left thumb surgery.
“I’m excited to be able join a clubhouse that has so many superstars,” Sánchez said. “There is so much talent on this team. I’m just excited to be able to help, contribute.”
Sánchez’s best seasons came early in his career with the Yankees, where he was runner-up in 2016 AL Rookie of the Year voting and made the AL All-Star team in 2017 and 2019.
He hit 20 home runs with a 1.032 OPS in 53 games in 2016, had 33 homers and 90 RBIs with an .876 OPS in 2017, and 34 homers with 77 RBIs and an .841 OPS in 2019.
Sánchez was traded to Minnesota before the 2022 season and batted .205 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 128 games last year.
San Diego began Tuesday with a major league low .220 team batting average.
“Right now we’re looking for a little bit more offense,” Brenly said. “The team is down offensively a little bit. Hopefully he brings that to us as well.”
— With AP