San Diego Padres: Our 1-on-1 conversation with Gary Sanchez

San Diego Padres catcher Gary Sanchez
San Diego Padres catcher Gary Sanchez / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

DENVER — With 99 games left in the regular season for the San Diego Padres, it's the perfect time to have a 1-on-1 conversation with the man who wears number 99 for the Padres, Gary Sanchez.

San Diego Padres: Our exclusive interview with Gary Sanchez

Since joining the Padres on May 30, Sanchez has made an immediate impact on the lineup. Entering Saturday's game against the Colorado Rockies in Denver, the 30-year-old Sanchez is 10-for-34 with seven extra-base hits, including five home runs. On his way to posting a 1.145 OPS in the brown and gold, Sanchez joins Carlos Quentin in 2012 to hit five home runs in his first 10 games with the Padres.

"There were a lot of adjustments after joining the Padres, but fortunately there are a lot of Latin players who have made me feel at home, as well as the coaches," Sanchez said through a translator. "As strange as it sounds, it feels like I've been here a really long time."

The Padres are the third franchise that Sanchez has been a part of this season, starting in the minor leagues with the San Francisco Giants before being released on May 2. He signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets one week later and played in three games for the Mets, slashing .167/.143/.167 in just six at-bats.

That wasn't enough for the Mets, who designated him for assignment on May 25. Four days later, with his career in limbo, the Padres claimed Sanchez off waivers.

"It was a couple of days. I stayed at home and stayed mentally strong," Sanchez recalled. "That was important so that, when I joined the Padres, I was able to contribute immediately on the first day. Staying mentally strong allowed me to have the success I'm having right now."

Since debuting with the team on May 30, Sanchez has caught eight games while Austin Nola has caught three. It's clear that Sanchez has become the preferred choice for the Padres behind the plate, but Sanchez is quick to give credit to Nola for what he has done to help him adjust to the new franchise.

"We (Nola and Sanchez) have been talking ever since I got here," Sanchez said. "He's been extremely helpful to me, particularly because he knows all of the pitchers. If I have a question, whether it's in the clubhouse or the dugout, he's been a quick and big source of information for me regarding how every single pitcher works and what makes them tick. He's helped me figure out the best way to work with them."

While Sanchez is figuring things out with the Padres, manager Bob Melvin is seeing a transformation in the veteran catcher.

"A lot of times, you get a little confidence again, and you do some things you've done in the past, I think each and every game that he has like this, you'll see some of that potential that he's always had," Melvin said after Friday night's win in Denver. "With our team, I think they've made him feel awfully comfortable."

And Sanchez has made the Padres feel awfully comfortable with the decision they made to include him on their roster.