Blue Jays: The Five Burning Questions for the 2018 season

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 5: Manager John Gibbons
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - MAY 5: Manager John Gibbons /
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Can Aaron Sanchez stay healthy?

Speaking of nagging issues, Aaron Sanchez dealt with a doozy last season while trying to get his pitching hand in performance shape. I’m sure you’re aware by now, but if not, he only made eight starts and threw just 36 innings, repeatedly sent to the disabled list because of one finger on his throwing hand. A variety of fingernail, blister, and tendon issues ultimately landed him on the DL for good, and the hope was that an extended rest without so much as gripping a baseball would get him to a proper re-set point.

It appears that’s what’s happened for the 2016 American League ERA leader, who has looked every bit the part of his former self this spring, and has the Blue Jays’ coaching staff very excited at what they’re seeing. The worry about his blister issues returning will always linger, but after more than a year spent directly dealing with a bad enough case to keep him out, he and the training staff have a few more tools in the belt to deal with the problem.

That doesn’t mean he’s out of the woods, or that he might not need time off either. It’s entirely possible the Blue Jays could skip him for a start here and there throughout the year, especially if he starts to develop the dreaded “hot spots” that preempt the blister issues that took his last season away from him. That said, it’s been clear sailing for him since the calendar flipped to 2018, and if it stays that way then the Blue Jays have just regained one of the better starters in the American League. That’s no small thing.