Anibal Sanchez is having arm issues again. The Detroit Tigers nearly got away with no injury reports for the entire offseason. They were heading into spring training with a clean bill of health. Until Thursday, when MLive's Chris Iott reported from Lakeland, Fla. that Sanchez was being diagnosed for an "undisclosed physical issue."
Sanchez later told MLB.com's Jason Beck that his triceps flared up throwing a fastball during a bullpen session. So, so much for everything going according to plan. Sanchez has not thrown since this last Monday, according to the Detroit Free Press' Anthony Fenech, and will not take part in any throwing sessions until Feb. 29. Now, spring training is barely underway and this could be nothing more than the crankies of a throwing arm sitting idly by during the offseason.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told reporters on Thursday that despite the news, he's not concerned at this point. "But I guess you're always cringing when it involves one of your starting pitchers," he also said.
Sanchez himself later said that he was fine and he wasn't worried at this point. "I'm good. It's early," he told ESPN's Katie Strang. "We don't have to rush anything."
Sanchez's shoulder issues might be a problem
Considering Sanchez's history with arm and shoulder-related issues since 2007, however, to hear that he's dealing with a physical issue isn't exactly comforting. Sanchez was only sidelined for a prolonged period once in 2015 but it was costly. During a start on Aug. 19, he was pulled after just 2 1/3 innings of work for a rain-shortened day, but the next day he was placed on the 15-day DL for a right rotator cuff strain.
Sanchez had struggled greatly in his last seven starts, and he would wind up missing the remainder of the season. Initially, he was expected to return after a couple weeks -- a month at most -- and on Sept. 13 was even expected to rejoin the team that Wed., Sept. 16. However, his arm flared up again on Sept. 14 during a bullpen session, and shortly after visited Dr. James Andrews, who shut Sanchez down for the remainder of the season.
Dr. Andrews said there was no structural damage, and anticipated that Sanchez would not be affected in 2016. Whether that holds true now is yet to be seen. There's plenty of time to determine whether there is true cause for concern, or if it's just Sanchez's arm having the case of the springtime jitters.