DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez will be ready for his first start of the regular season despite a blister on his right hand that popped up earlier this week.Sanchez's final outing of the spring remains in question, but the club is not concerned about his availability for
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez will be ready for his first start of the regular season despite a blister on his right hand that popped up earlier this week.
Sanchez's final outing of the spring remains in question, but the club is not concerned about his availability for a regular-season game against the Rays on April 8.
The blister appeared during Sanchez's outing vs. the Phillies on Monday night. It was later drained and has since improved, but the club has yet to decide whether he will start again or instead throw a longer side session early next week.
"He actually feels better," manager John Gibbons said. "There's a good chance he doesn't pitch Sunday. Back him off a couple of days and then he can just throw a long side [session]. But he'll be ready to go next week in [St. Petersburg]."
Sanchez has previously dealt with blister issues, including last September, and it typically has not taken very long to heal. That's the expectation this time as well and everything is pointing in that direction, but that won't stop the Blue Jays from taking a cautious approach with their prized righty.
The 24-year-old does have the luxury of not pitching until Toronto's fifth game of the regular season. That move originally was designed to give Sanchez a little bit more time to get ready for the regular season following a delayed start to the spring. One of the benefits now is that the blister will have more time to heal.
"He's supposed to make another start down here, but it might not be worth it," Gibbons said.
Sanchez is coming off a season in which he went 15-2 with an American-League leading 3.00 ERA. He is about to enter his first full season as a starter following a couple of years spent going back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.