Sanchez feels good after 40 pitches to hitters, may miss one more start
DETROIT — Most likely one more before he’s back, but Anibal Sanchez is getting closer.
The starter, sidelined for three of his last four turns in the Detroit Tigers’ rotation with stiffness in his throwing shoulder, threw 40 pitches to hitters in a simulated game Thursday morning, gauging how close he is to returning.
“Nothing, just feel good. ... I don’t feel anything. I don’t feel pain. ... Now I know I’m ready but I need to wait for the process,” Sanchez said of how he felt. “I know I’m ready now. I just have to wait for the process.”
Next step for the right-hander, whom the Tigers traded for at the deadline last year, then re-signed in the offseason, is likely a live-action rehabilitation start, where he’ll throw 60 pitches, working his way closer to the 100 he’d be expected to throw in a big-league game.
“He did have a good session. I watched it myself, and the ball was coming out real good. We’ll probably find out tomorrow whether he’s good to go or not,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I mean, if you went by what you saw today, you’d probably say yes, but you always have to wait to the next day, to see how he feels.”
Sanchez thought it was possible he’d throw 60 pitches in Lakeland, Fla., on Monday, then be ready for his next start after that.
“Right now it’s not like patient, it’s just take my time. Take my time for my back to normal, for be available 100 percent on the mound,” he said. “It’s not about how much I want to be there. It’s how I want to be there.”
If that does turn out to be the plan, it would mean that Jose Alvarez, who has started in Sanchez’s absence, would start Monday’s game for the Tigers, then Sanchez would resume his turn on Saturday, July 6, at Cleveland.
“Well, you always want to get your main guys in there and going. ... It’ll be great to get him back in there, when the time comes, and he feels totally comfortable and healthy. Obviously, the kid (Alvarez) has done a good job filling in, but he’s not Anibal Sanchez,” Leyland said. “Today would be a big day. ...
“He’s obviously very important to us. But you have to remember, we’re not the only one dealing with this kind of stuff. People missing starts happens all over baseball.”