Anibal Sanchez takes another licking

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The Tigers struck gold in acquiring Doug Fister from the Mariners last summer. Their big pickup this July, Anibal Sanchez, isn’t working out so well.

Sanchez gave up five runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings Monday to take a loss to the Twins. He was hit in the leg by a comebacker in the first inning, but that didn’t seem to have a lasting impact. Sanchez is 1-3 with a 7.97 ERA since arriving from Miami last month. His lone win in the span came against an Indians team that was on its way to losing 11 games in a row.

Sanchez has been eaten alive by the BABIP gods in his four starts for the Tigers, allowing 35 hits in 20 1/3 innings of work. That’s not to say it’s all singles and doubles doing him in, though; he’s given up five homers. His strikeout rate is also well down, with a 13/8 K/BB ratio to date. He had a 110/33 K/BB ratio in 121 innings for the Marlins.

Perhaps Sanchez has simply been too amped since the trade. He averaged 91.3 mph with his fastball for Miami this year, but he jumped to 92.5 mph in his first three starts for the Tigers. That’d seem to be a good thing under normal circumstances, but he’s also throwing his slider and changeup harder, which might mean they’re not breaking as much as usual.

At least it suggests that his arm is sound, which should mean that Sanchez will turn it around soon. With a nice finish, he’d head into the winter regarded as the No. 2 or No. 3 free agent starter available behind Zack Greinke, putting him in position to land a big contract.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.