While he’s apparently recovering nicely from a September surgery on his finger, it’s possible that Aaron Sanchez may be slightly delayed to start Spring Training.
The Blue Jays are going to enter the 2019 season with a lot of questions about their starting rotation, especially after the departures of J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada. One familiar question they’ll be asking though, is how many starts they’ll get from Aaron Sanchez, the talented right-hander who has struggled with injury issues for the last two years.
The 2018 season was a bit of a “two steps forward, one step back” situation for Sanchez, as he managed to make 12 more starts than he had a year before, but it still only equated to 20 total appearances. That brings him to just 28 starts in the last two seasons, and unfortunately familiar issues reared their head last year, even if they were the result of a different catalyst that sent him to the disabled list. In 2017 it was fingernail, blister, and tendon issues that kept him on the disabled list, and last season it was a lost fight to a suitcase.
All joking aside, Sanchez caught his finger in a failing suitcase and caused the injury that caused him to miss more than two months, from his June 21st start until his return on August 25th. The timing was also unfortunate, as it seemed like he was building on his success on the mound and had put together a string of solid outings in June before the injury.
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Fast forward to the present day, and we’re still asking ourselves how that wonky finger of Sanchez’s is doing. According to reports from the Winterfest weekend, it sounds like things are more or less on track after the surgery he had in September. There was a caveat however, that he might be delayed by a week or so once things get underway in Dunedin.
While this would sound like a casual statement for nearly anyone else, we’ve learned things are never that simple when it comes to Sanchez. For weeks we heard that he was close to re-joining the Blue Jays rotation last year, only to see him return when the season was nearly over, and to finally learn the real cause of his injury. You can’t blame Sanchez or the staff for wanting to keep it under wraps, but even though it was a freak injury it still seemed like a blow to his future value.
Again, this might be nothing other than conservative language being used for a guy who has managed to find a crack in the sidewalk to trip on before, but it’s not the kind of thing I was hoping to hear in the middle of January. By now it would be nice to hear definitive and confident statements about his short term future, not more uncertainty.
Because the thing is, the last time we heard uncertain language about the former first round pick, he didn’t make it back to the mound for over two months. There may not be any reason to worry right now, but until we see Sanchez on the mound on a regular basis, the question will remain.