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.
Free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo is headed back to the Brewers on a major league deal, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports. No other terms have been reported yet, as the agreement is still pending a physical.
Gallardo, 31, completed a one-year run with the Mariners before getting his $13 million option declined by the team last month. He provided little value during his time in Seattle, pitching to a 5-10 record in 22 starts and putting up a 5.72 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 6.5 SO/9 in 130 2/3 innings as both a starter and reliever.
Still, assuming the veteran righty is on the cusp of a comeback, he may as well try for it with his original club. Gallardo last appeared for the Brewers from 2007 to 2014, racking up a cumulative 20.8 fWAR and peaking during the 2010 season, when he earned his first All-Star nomination and Silver Slugger award. This will be his ninth career season with the club.
Even with Gallardo aboard, the Brewers are expected to continue deepening their pitching stores for 2018. With team ace Jimmy Nelson still recovering from shoulder surgery, the club will enter the season with a projected rotation of Gallardo, Zach Davies, Chase Anderson and Junior Guerra, the latter of whom pitched just 70 1/3 innings in 2017 following a right calf strain and shin contusion. Another big name pitcher could help cement Milwaukee’s rotation and keep them competitive for another year, though they don’t appear to have made any concrete moves in that direction so far.