Sánchez's 4-year-old son announces dad's season debut

July 12th, 2022

WASHINGTON -- Aníbal Sánchez’s son had an important message to deliver to his father. So manager Dave Martinez scooped the 4-year-old onto his lap in the dugout to relay the news as the right-hander walked off the field pregame on Tuesday.

Sánchez already had been informed by Martinez over the phone, but this was an announcement to the television cameras and reporters.

You are pitching Thursday, Sánchez’s son told him in Spanish.

Sánchez beamed and high-fived his son. Then he offered Martinez the in-person reaction the manager had been expecting: a hug. The series opener against the Braves will be Sánchez’s first Major League appearance since Sept. 26, 2020.

“He’s excited about it, he really is, and I’m excited for him,” Martinez said. “He put himself through a lot to get back.”

Sánchez, 38, sat out the 2021 season. He signed a Minor League deal with the Nationals during Spring Training, and he earned a spot in the starting rotation. But Sánchez has been sidelined the entirety of his 16th Major League season after sustaining a cervical nerve impingement after the team flight at the end of camp. Following a lengthy recovery and four Minor League rehab starts, he was cleared to make his season debut without limitations.

“He did everything he needed to do to get back, and I’m looking forward to getting him out there and watching him pitch again,” Martinez said. “He was a big part of ‘19 for us.”

While Sánchez completed parts of his rehab with the Nationals, his son has been with him and around the team. With his own Nats uniform, he has displayed his early pitching and hitting skills, including batting practice with his pal, Juan Soto.