Digital future bright, says ‘ happy’ Sanchez
Ain Vancouver aron Sanchez has a new contract and the same old feelings about the New York Yankees.
The right- handed pitcher is in the Lower Mainland this weekend as part of the Toronto Blue Jays winter tour and during a visit with the media on Friday at Gilmore Community School in Burnaby, Sanchez confirmed that he had come to an agreement with the club.
Reports have Sanchez reaching a one-year, $2.7 million contract to avoid arbitration on Friday.
The signing was one of several topics touched on by Sanchez, 25, among them his thoughts on facing the arch rival Yankees after they added 59 home run man Giancarlo Stanton this off- season to a lineup that already featured Aaron Judge, he of the 52 homers last season.
“I ain’t worried. It’s all ( on) paper right now,” said Sanchez, a 2010 first- round pick by Toronto whose minor league path included a stop in 2011 with the Vancouver Canadians.
“You still have to go out and perform. I’ll be ready just as much as they will be.”
As for getting his contract finalized, Sanchez explained: “I let my people handle it. I wasn’t in a lot of the talks. But, yeah, definitely, I’m happy.”
The Blue Jays and their fans will want him to be healthy, considering his injury troubles played a role in Toronto finishing a ped- estrian 76- 86 in 2017 after making the playoffs the two previous seasons.
Sanchez had a breakout season in 2016, finishing 15- 2 with an American League best 3.00 earned run average. He looked set to become a perennial all-star, but blister issues limited him to just eight starts totalling 36 innings last year.
He said Friday that he’s been long tossing four weeks and has had no issues along the way.
“I think the frustrating part for me was it being so little, so tiny,” Sanchez said of the blister problems. “I’m glad it was that. It could be other body parts. I’m just glad we nipped this in the bud now.
“It’s not to say that this problem won’t ever come up, because we don’t know that. I dealt with it in ’ 16 and was an all-star and won an ERA title,’’ he said. “I’m pretty confident that my finger, the way it is, will be fine this year. I’ll have to maintain it but I had to in years past, but no more of the disaster of last year.”
The “how- to” for maintaining from Sanchez was extensive. He talked about things like skin on his finger and the length of his finger nails and being aware of the elements, explaining, “humidity plays a big factor.”
“A lot of it is friction and force from the game,” Sanchez said. “Hopefully we can get this all fixed and moved on.”
The Blue Jays inked several players just prior to Friday afternoon’s deadline for teams and players to exchange figures in preparation for the arbitration process. That included third baseman Josh Donaldson, the power hitter signing a one- year contract worth $23 million, which is record for a pre-arbitration settlement.
“Josh is a huge component to our team and to our success. It’s not only what he brings on the baseball field but also to the clubhouse. He’s a great dude to be around. He’s a good leader,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez is joined on this trip by fellow right- hander Marco Estrada, first baseman Justin Smoak and outfielder Dalton Pompey. Their Saturday schedule includes an autograph session at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Fans had to get tickets in advance.
Sanchez is familiar with the area. He was part of the Canadians team that won the short- season, single-A Northwest League title in 2011.
“I think, for me, it’s about getting to engage with the fans on the west coast,” Sanchez said of this latest Blue Jays’ winter excursion. “We give so many opportunities to the fans in Toronto and the eastern part of this country.
“There’s a lot of love here. You go down to Seattle and it’s like a home game for us.”
I’M JUST GLAD WE NIPPED THIS IN THE BUD NOW.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez, who missed most of last season because of blister problems, signed a oneyear deal worth $2.7 million with the team Friday. He hopes he’s put his injury problems behind him.