Aaron Sanchez is itching to get back to the Blue Jays.
He is practically crawling out of his skin, he’s so amped. He could probably fly to California on his own adrenaline to join the big league club in Oakland.
While indications from the Toronto media are that Sanchez will be joining the Blue Jays in a few days, he still had some business to take care of in Buffalo.
And he wishes he did a slightly better job.
He changed roles from starter to reliever Tuesday night and while the two runs scored on his watch were passed balls (and hence unearned) the two walks in two-thirds of an inning aren’t what Sanchez was looking for.
Physically he feels fine as he continues his major league rehabilitation assignment for a strained upper back muscle that put him on the disabled list June 6.
His velocity is fantastic, consistently hitting the mid 90s with his fastball. His command has been good in spots and iffy in others. In Tuesday’s outing he threw 24 pitches, 11 for strikes, and both his walks were issued on full counts.
“Everything feels good,” Sanchez said. “Obviously I had tremendous life on the ball today. … I have a tendency to kind of ramp up a bit and stuff was moving everywhere.
“I think what we’re getting out of this is making sure that I feel good, regardless of how I do. Yeah, you want to see results, but at the end of the day it’s how I’m feeling. I’m here on rehab, I’m not here to make every pitch a strike.”
Manager Gary Allenson doesn’t evaluate Sanchez’s stint with the Bisons based only on the numbers.
“He started out with good command. It kind of left him a little bit there,” Allenson said of Tuesday’s outing. “He probably needs to back off a little bit and work ahead there. … I’ve had guys down here on rehab who didn’t do very well and went up and did real well. It’s a different animal up there.”
Sanchez’s job in Buffalo is to confirm his health against live hitters and refine his role for the rest of the season with the Blue Jays. Tuesday was the first time coming out of the bullpen this season for Sanchez, who began the year as part of the Jays’ starting rotation.
But he’s familiar with the reliever role in the big leagues. Last year he worked as a starter in the minor leagues but on his first call up to the Blue Jays worked as a reliever with a 1.09 ERA in 24 games.
With Toronto struggling to find consistent relief pitching, the thought is that Sanchez will help the Blue Jays close out games while also limiting his workload to safeguard his health.
“For me, when they approached me with it, it was one of those things where obviously we’ve been struggling back there,” Sanchez said. “Whatever the stat is, I don’t really care but they just need help. … Obviously the ultimate goal is to get deep into October and if they feel that’s a move that’s going to make us get that, then I’m all for it.”