Anibal Sanchez makes spring debut, says shoulder problems are “no big deal”

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Anibal Sanchez was sidelined by shoulder problems early in camp, but made his spring training debut yesterday and said afterward that he felt fine.

Sanchez’s history of shoulder problems, including surgery as a minor leaguer, make any issues in that area a bigger concern than usual, but he tossed two scoreless innings against the Rays and racked up four strikeouts.

“I knew this was nothing bad at all,” Sanchez told¬†Evan Drellich of MLB.com. “I knew that I need to take a break, a few days off. It’s no big deal and everybody knew that. I don’t want to rush. It’s early.”

He’s scheduled start again Monday against the Astros, so barring a setback he’ll have 3-4 more spring starts and plenty of time to build up his arm strength and pitch count for the regular season. Sanchez threw 196 innings with a 3.67 ERA and 202 strikeouts last season, so his health is an overlooked key for the new-look Marlins.

And as an impending free agent Sanchez also has plenty riding on his health this season.