‘I don’t blame the ball’

The Observer (Sarnia) - - SPORTS - MELISSA COUTO

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

TORONTO — Aaron Sanchez is ready to put his fin­ger is­sues be­hind him and never look back.

A frus­trat­ing sea­son came to a close for the Blue Jays right-han­der over the week­end when the team of­fi­cially shut him down for the re­main­der of 2017.

What started as a blis­ter on his right mid­dle fin­ger and ex­panded into a nail is­sue early in the year has now de­vel­oped into a pul­ley sprain in his ten­don, which Sanchez found out about on Fri­day.

For now, the only so­lu­tion for the 25-year-old is rest. But he and the team will con­tinue to ex­plore op­tions over the off-sea­son to pre­vent his blis­ters from re-emerg­ing.

“I don’t even want to look at my fin­ger, that’s how ir­ri­tated I’ve been with all this stuff,” Sanchez said Mon­day be­fore the Blue Jays played the vis­it­ing Bal­ti­more Ori­oles. “I think I’ll have an an­swer be­fore I even pick up a ball on what kind of strat­egy or what we need to do mov­ing for­ward.

“I’m try­ing to take care of that now be­cause when I pick up a ball I’m slam­ming the door on all this (stuff ) that hap­pened this year.”

Sanchez went on the dis­abled list four times over the course of the sea­son and had a pro­ce­dure done to re­move part of his fin­ger­nail in an at­tempt to fix the nag­ging prob­lem.

He lasted just one in­ning (13 pitches) in his first re­turn from the DL on April 30 against Tampa Bay be­fore his fin­ger be­gan to bleed. In his last start against Bos­ton on July 19, Sanchez was pulled af­ter giv­ing up five runs over four in­nings in a 5-1 loss.

He landed back on the DL when an­other blis­ter reap­peared in the same spot on his mid­dle fin­ger.

“I can’t pin­point ex­actly when (the strain hap­pened), I’m sure it was the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ev­ery­thing,” Sanchez said. “When I went and pitched against Tampa Bay and came out af­ter one in­ning it prob­a­bly started.

“A strain is some­thing where it re­peat­edly hap­pens so it was prob­a­bly get­ting strained un­til my body told me, ‘Hey, I can’t go.’ I can’t pin­point when and how. I just know what the prob­lem was and we ad­dressed it and now we move for­ward.”

Sanchez pitched just 36 in­nings in 2017 with a 4.25 earned-run av­er­age, 24 strike­outs and a 1-3 record.

The ab­bre­vi­ated sea­son comes a year af­ter he went 15-2 with an Amer­i­can League-best 3.00 earne­drun av­er­age, 161 strike­outs and 192 in­nings pitched while ap­pear­ing in his first all-star game.

Sanchez, who’s dealt with blis­ters in the past, refused to place any blame on the base­balls be­ing used by MLB, as other pitch­ers — in­clud­ing team­mate Mar­cus Stro­man — have done this year.

“Ev­ery­body else has com­plained about it, I don’t need to add to it,” Sanchez said.

“If it is some­thing then we’ll all know. But I’ve had prob­lems with blis­ters so I don’t blame the ball on be­ing the is­sue.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS FILES

Bat­tling bllis­ter prob­lems all sea­son, Toronto start­ing pitcher Aaron Sanchez pitched just 36 in­nings this sum­mer.

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