Anibal Sanchez returns from the disabled list today after missing the past six weeks with a strained pectoral muscle, but instead of jumping back into the Tigers’ rotation he’ll be eased back in the mix as a reliever.
Because the minor-league season is over Sanchez wasn’t able to build up the necessary arm strength to start on a rehab assignment, so he comes off the disabled list following a 45-pitch simulated game Sunday.
Asked about Sanchez’s role, manager Brad Ausmus told Jason Beck of MLB.com:
It would depend on how deep the starter went. If the starter struggles, he could probably pitch the sixth and seventh. If the starter did well, he could probably pitch the seventh, he could probably pitch the eighth. Really, his stuff is that good. I wouldn’t be afraid to use him at any point in the game, really.
Sanchez has just one previous relief appearance, way back in 2006 when he was a 22-year-old rookie for the Marlins.
Detroit has the rotation depth to survive without Sanchez, who led the league in ERA last season and had a 3.46 ERA in 125 innings before being shut down this year. They can rely on David Price, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Rick Porcello while potentially using Sanchez in a multi-inning, high-leverage relief role in a bullpen that has been a problem all year.
CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Dodgers placed pitcher Noah Syndergaard on the 15-day injured list Thursday with a blister on the index finger of his right throwing hand.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the timetable for Syndergaard’s return is unknown despite the 15-day designation.
“The physical, the mental, the emotional part, as he’s talked about, has taken a toll on him,” Roberts said. “So, the ability to get him away from this. He left today to go back to Los Angeles to kind of get back to normalcy.”
Syndergaard allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, raising his ERA to 7.16.
Syndergaard (1-4) has surrendered at least five runs in three straight starts.
Syndergaard has been trying to return to the player he was before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the better part of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Roberts said Syndergaard will need at least “a few weeks” to both heal and get away from baseball and “reset.”
“I think searching and not being comfortable with where he was at in the moment is certainly evident in performance,” Roberts said. “So hopefully this time away will provide more clarity on who he is right now as a pitcher.
“Trying to perform when you’re searching at this level is extremely difficult. I applaud him from not running from it, but it’s still very difficult. Hopefully it can be a tale of two stories, two halves when he does come back.”