Gary Sanchez has had a rough season. It hasn’t been abysmal; according to Fangraphs he’s still on pace to be about a league average player despite slashing .188/.283/.416. That’s a big (and at least partially BABIP-induced) downturn from his first two seasons, which saw Sanchez put up 7.6 fWAR (and 53 homers) across 173 games.

Sanchez also had a rough end to last night’s game, when he didn’t run full-speed out of the box in the bottom of the ninth, a decision that essentially prevented the Yankees from tying the game against the Rays. The video is here, which also includes a run scoring earlier in the game after Sanchez gets crossed up (maybe not his fault at all) then slowly jogs after the ball while a runner scores all the way from second on the play (definitely more his fault):

That’s bad! It’s one mistake, certainly, and just one game, but considering the Yankees are desperately trying to stay in touch with Boston and avoid a Wild Card game of chance, it was costly. Sanchez was also derided after the game for speaking about the play through an interpreter, which is absolutely, 100% not anything close to a bad thing, but because it’s the Yankees, it furthered the story into this morning.

The Yankees probably want nothing more than for this particular news cycle to end.

Fortunately for them, MLB had just the kind of PR distraction that could have helped turn the page. Today is the day the league announces each team’s Heart and Hustle Award winner, with all 30 eventually in contention for the league’s overall winner of an award based on “passion, desire and work ethic demonstrated both on and off the field.”

Unfortunately for them, the Yankees nominee is backup catcher Austin Romine.

That’s a classic chef’s kiss moment.

While this is objectively funny, it’s important to note the Yankees didn’t just decide to give the award to Romine this morning. It’s voted on and everything, and voting has been ongoing. Plus let’s remember that it was just one game in a down year for Sanchez, who has done an awful lot to help out the Yankees the last two years.

But, yeah, no, it’s still funny.

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.