Blue Jays: Injury takes away the chance to square off against Aaron Sanchez

HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 20: Aaron Sanchez #18 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park on August 20, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 20: Aaron Sanchez #18 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid Park on August 20, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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The Blue Jays have a three game series starting with the Houston Astros on Friday, but unfortunately Aaron Sanchez is on the injured list and won’t pitch.

The Blue Jays have seen a lot of familiar faces lately between Josh Donaldson with the Braves, and Russell Martin with the Dodgers, but they won’t get that same chance when they welcome the Houston Astros to the Rogers Centre this weekend.

That’s because Aaron Sanchez is currently on the injured list for the Astros, as he’s dealing with a sore pectoral muscle that has kept him on the sidelines since August 20th. There was some hope that he might be able to return this weekend, but he’s not even going to make the trip with his teammates, and instead will stay home and continue to rehab the injury according to Hunter Atkins of the Houston Chronicle. 

That’s a shame for a few reasons. Obviously it’s too bad to see Sanchez continuing to deal with injuries that are keeping him off the mound, but it would have been nice for the fans to get to honour him with a standing ovation of his own. He may not have accomplish what Donaldson did in Toronto, but he was a key bullpen piece in the first playoff run, and won an ERA title in 2016. The fans would and should have let him know that his work here was appreciated, even if the last few seasons have been frustrating, and his 11th hour trade to Houston came as a bit of a surprise.

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Secondly, he actually would have been lined up to make the start against his old team on Saturday. His spot in the rotation is now being taken up by left-hander Framber Valdez, who is currently listed as the probable starter for the second game of the series. While I don’t mind the right-handed bats of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and many others getting another crack at a southpaw, it would have been fun to see them square off against their own teammate.

As things stand it looks like the Blue Jays will get Wade Miley in the Friday’s game, Valdez on Saturday, and then finish up against Cy Young frontrunner, Justin Verlander. They’ll counter with Trent Thornton tonight, Clay Buchholz on Saturday, and will likely go with an opener for the series finale.

Assuming Sanchez can return in time to help the Astros with their stretch run, there’s a very good chance he’ll end up in the bullpen, at least for the short term. The Astros have a vaunted rotation that features Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Zack Greinke, and the surprising effective Miley. Sanchez was the clear #5 starter of the group, and won’t be needed in that role during the playoffs. They may as well make good use of him and his stuff could play well in the bullpen, especially with Ryan Pressly on the shelf for a while.

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It’ll be yet another good test for the young Blue Jays when the Astros come to town, but unfortunately it won’t include their old friend in Sanchez, or even Joe Biagini, who is currently pitching in Triple-A. Maybe next time.

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