Anibal Sanchez required a cortisone shot last week to combat right shoulder inflammation, but he appears on track to make his first scheduled start of the regular season.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Sanchez threw 71 pitches in a minor league game today without incident. His first game action since March 12, he allowed one run on seven hits and one walk over four innings while striking out four.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus wants to see how Sanchez feels tomorrow before he truly exhales, but the current plan calls for him to come back over to the Grapefruit League side to start Saturday against the Nationals. If all goes well, he’ll start the third game of the regular season next week against the Royals.
Sanchez, 30, led the American League with a 2.57 ERA last season and compiled an impressive 202/54 K/BB ratio over 182 innings. His shoulder has been an issue for him during his career and even sidelined him briefly last season, so while it appears that he will start the season on time, it will be something to monitor.
It was assumed already, but Mike Scioscia made it official during Monday’s press conference for new general manager Billy Eppler that he will return as Angels manager in 2016.
Scioscia, the longest-tenured manager in the majors, has been at the helm with the Angels since 2000. There was a clause in his contract which allowed him to opt out after the 2015 season, but he has decided to stay put. He still has three years and $15 million on his contract, which runs through 2018.
Jerry Dipoto resigned as Angels general manager in July amid tension with Scioscia, so there were naturally questions today about what to expect with first-time GM Eppler in the fold. According to David Adler of MLB.com, Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think we’re going to mesh very well,” Scioscia said. “If we adjust, or maybe he adjusts to some of the things, there’s going to be collaboration that’s going to make us better.”
Eppler is the fourth general manager during Scioscia’s tenure with the team.
After winning the AL West last season, the Angels finished 85-77 this season and narrowly missed the playoffs. The team hasn’t won a postseason game since 2009.
Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez sat out the final series of the regular season in order to rest a strained left intercostal muscle, but there was good news coming out of a workout today in advance of Tuesday’s Wild Card game vs. the Yankees.
This has been a lingering issue for Gomez, who missed 13 straight games with the injury last month. He aggravated the strain on a throw to home plate last Wednesday and was forced to sit while the Astros fought to keep their season alive. Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters last week that Gomez’s injury would typically take 45-50 days to recover from, so it’s fair to wonder how productive he can be during the postseason.
Gomez mostly struggled after coming over from the Brewers at the trade deadline, batting .242 with four home runs and a .670 OPS over 41 games.