TORONTO -- The blister on Aaron Sanchez's right hand just won't seem to go away, and now the Blue Jays will have to survive without arguably their best pitcher for an indefinite period of time.Sanchez was placed on the 10-day disabled list prior to Sunday's game against the Orioles. He
TORONTO -- The blister on Aaron Sanchez's right hand just won't seem to go away, and now the Blue Jays will have to survive without arguably their best pitcher for an indefinite period of time.
Sanchez was placed on the 10-day disabled list prior to Sunday's game against the Orioles. He is eligible to return April 25 in St. Louis, but the 24-year-old would not commit to a timeframe for his return, and the problem appears to be more serious than initially believed.
The plan is for Sanchez to visit a hand specialist in the coming days to go over his options. He has been dealing with intermittent blister issues on his right index finger for most of his career but the problem recently reached a breaking point.
"I can't keep altering my mechanics and putting my other body parts in jeopardy for something that is so little," Sanchez said. "I need to get this thing knocked out. It has been something that has been lingering for a little bit now. We have been in contact with some hand specialists over the phone and I think the next step is to go see them in person."
With an off-day coming Monday, Toronto will not have to replace Sanchez in the rotation right away. Instead the club likely will skip Sanchez's start day entirely and move everybody else in the rotation up one game. That will temporarily solve the problem, but the Blue Jays will require another starter at some point during an upcoming series vs. the Angels from April 21-24.
Right-hander Casey Lawrence is one candidate to make the spot start. He made a couple of appearances out of the bullpen for Toronto earlier this season, and since he is on the 40-man roster an additional transaction would not be required. Mat Latos and TJ House are two other options but with a 40-man roster that is currently full, someone would have to be let go to make room for either pitcher.
"Two years, it has been something that is kind of off and on," Sanchez said. "We don't really know when it comes, how it comes, why it's coming. This is the opportunity to hopefully figure it all out. ... I'm hoping it's not going to take too long but it's so hit and miss. The finger, it's one of the most important things for me in terms of feel and command and for me to go out there and not be on your top [form], it's hard to compete."
Sanchez said the blister typically became aggravated when he went to his curveball. That's not a pitch he throws very often during his side sessions between starts but when he uses it in a game it tends to make a spot on his right index finger very tender. Everything is fine for the first few times he throws the curve, but as the game progresses the finger becomes sore and then his entire mechanics are affected.
"My first two or three or four in a game are really good and once you continue to do that, now it starts to impact my sinker, now it starts to affect other pitches," Sanchez said. "I can't keep going out there and faking. If I don't feel at my best, you're not going to get the best of me and it's just not worth it for me and it's not worth it for the team. We've come to a decision to hopefully knock this thing [out] and hopefully it never comes back."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.