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.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Indians and Padres are still discussing a potential trade for a starting pitcher, namely Corey Kluber or Trevor Bauer. Rosenthal adds that a deal isn’t close and is unlikely to occur before Opening Day. The Padres are balking at the Indians’ asking prices for the two starters.
The Padres could certainly use an ace at the top of the rotation. With the addition of Manny Machado, the lineup is looking decent, but beyond Joey Lucchesi, the starting pitching doesn’t inspire confidence.
Kluber, who turns 33 years old next month, has club options for the next two seasons at $13.5 million and $14 million with $1 million buyouts each. Last year, the right-hander finished third in AL Cy Young balloting, finishing 20-7 with a 2.89 ERA and a 222/34 K/BB ratio in 215 innings.
Bauer, 28, is earning $13 million this season and will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration heading into 2020. Last year, Bauer went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA and a 221/57 K/BB ratio across 175 1/3 innings.
The Indians are the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central once again, but that has as much to do with the mediocrity of the rest of the division as the Indians’ commitment to competing. If the Indians were to trade either or both starters, that would be good news for the Twins, who are projected to be 15 games worse than the Indians but still finish in second place, according to PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.