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Braves add Anibal on Minor League pact

Veteran righty's deal includes invitation to Spring Training
Special to MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez's spring shuffling will continue.

The veteran right-hander signed a Minor League contract with the Braves on Friday that includes an invite to Spring Training, the club announced.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez's spring shuffling will continue.

The veteran right-hander signed a Minor League contract with the Braves on Friday that includes an invite to Spring Training, the club announced.

Sanchez, 34, signed with the Twins on Feb. 20, then was released on Sunday after the club acquired free agent Lance Lynn to help round out its rotation. Sanchez made just two appearances in Twins camp, allowing six runs on five hits in four innings.

A veteran of 12 Major League seasons with the Marlins and Tigers, Sanchez has a career record of 90-94 with a 4.09 ERA in 284 games, including 262 starts. He will likely be looking for a late-career renaissance following a downward trend from his American League-best 2.57 ERA in 2013 to a 10-20 record and 6.09 ERA spread over 63 games (43 starts) from '16-17.

Preparing to embark on a rebuild, Detroit did not exercise Sanchez's $16 million option for 2018 and instead paid off his $5 million buyout. Sanchez showed promise toward the end of his Tigers tenure, posting a 2.74 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 23 innings over his final four starts.

"Just to get a look and see where he's at," manager Brian Snitker said before the Braves faced the Pirates. "As a depth piece, I don't know. Who knows, he might make our club, I don't know. We'll evaluate. He's in shape, and just kind of see where he's at."

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Snitker said Sanchez could get into a game as early as Sunday, when the Braves travel to face the Astros. His first appearance will most likely be out of the bullpen.

"Right now, if everything goes right, he's going to throw a side [session] today," Snitker said. "We may try and get him in there Sunday."

Snitker has some familiarity with Sanchez and the kinds of outings he can have.

"I remember it was a start in Detroit a few years ago," Snitker said. "I saw him really, really good over the years with the Marlins and the Tigers. He's a guy that knows how to pitch. We'll just kind of see where he's at."

The game Snitker mentioned was on April 26, 2013. Then with the Tigers, Sanchez struck out a career-high 17 batters when he beat the Braves, giving up five hits with one walk over eight innings. The Braves were swept in that three-game series in Detroit by a combined score of 25-7.

"Is that what it was?" Snitker said, when he was reminded of the 17 strikeouts. "I knew it was a bunch. We had a rough series that series, I remember."

Video: Must C Classic: Sanchez sets Tigers' strikeout record

However, for Atlanta, Sanchez's addition is likely a means to add immediate depth.

Left-handers Luiz Gohara and Sean Newcomb, who were each projected to make the Braves' Opening Day roster, may not be sufficiently prepared for the club's first time through the rotation. Gohara has been battling a left ankle injury and Newcomb may still need a few starts at Triple-A Gwinnett, since he has options left.

The Braves have only confirmed that Julio Teheran, Mike Foltynewicz and Brandon McCarthy will be a part of their starting five. Left-hander Scott Kazmir, who the club acquired from the Dodgers in December, is believed to be the No. 4 starter, though he's struggled in his most recent two outings.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Atlanta Braves, Anibal Sanchez