Anibal Sanchez may not start again for the Detroit Tigers this season due to a strained pectoralis suffered in early August. But Sanchez's rehab is progressing to where pitching out of the bullpen has become a definite possibility.
Before tonight's game in Minnesota Sanchez threw off a mound, taking part in his second short bullpen session in two days. He was reportedly feeling good and pain free after throwing. The next step in Sanchez's rehab may be participating in a simulated game.
The concern is Sanchez will not have enough time left in the season to stretch out and build up enough stamina to pitch starter innings. His pitching out of the bullpen is becoming a option the Tigers are seriously considering.
Sanchez is still preparing as if he will start sometime this month. But when asked about a move from the rotation to the bullpen, Sanchez was open to the challenge.
Sanchez on starting/relieving: "I'll take the ball whenever the team gives it to me." Preparing as starter for now.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 16, 2014
Manager Brad Ausmus would prefer Sanchez returned to the rotation. But he also admitted time is becoming a factor, the bullpen becoming an 'attractive' option.
Ausmus says "in a perfect world" he wants Anibal Sanchez to start, which could happen based on today's sustained improvement. But ...— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) September 16, 2014
Ausmus concedes timetable for getting Sanchez sufficient time is "tight" and bullpen option remains attractive.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) September 16, 2014
Only 12 games remain in the regular season. Factoring in the time frame and the stakes involved, Anibal Sanchez appears on track to become Detroit's not-so-secret weapon out of the bullpen.