Bad news for the first-place Tigers, as right-hander Anibal Sanchez was forced to exit his start against the Blue Jays last night due to a strain of his right pectoral muscle.
Sanchez was in obvious discomfort after he attempted a pickoff throw to first base with two outs in the fifth inning. He threw one warm-up pitch before leaving the ballgame. Sanchez has a history of shoulder issues, but he told James Schmehl of MLive.com after the game that this pain is different. More should be known after he goes for an MRI today.
“There’s discomfort because I can’t move my arm very well, and there’s a little bit of pain in there,” Sanchez said after the Tigers’ 5-4 win in Toronto. “I’ve never had that before. I don’t know what the problem is.”
Robbie Ray, who made three starts for the Tigers earlier this season, would likely take Sanchez’s spot in the rotation if he needs to miss significant time.
Sanchez, 30, has posted a 3.53 ERA and 102/30 K/BB ratio in 125 innings over 21 starts this season. He missed three weeks earlier this year with a right finger laceration.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.
It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.
At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”
Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.