Aaron Sanchez lands spot in Blue Jays' rotation
22-year-old righty's innings will be monitored
Aaron Sanchez will begin the season in the Blue Jays' starting rotation, manager John Gibbons announced Monday.
Sanchez, 22, made 11 starts last year but spent the bulk of his time in the bullpen, making 30 appearances as a reliever.
Gibbons said Sanchez's workload will be monitored, and that he may be returned to the bullpen later in the season. The manager did not give a specific innings limit for Sanchez, if indeed the team has one in mind.
Sanchez pitched 92 1/3 innings last season, plus another 7 1/3 in the playoffs. He tossed a professional career-high 133 1/3 in 2014, including his first 33 as a big leaguer.
With Sanchez winning the starting job, Gibbons said that Gavin Floyd, who had been vying for that role, will pitch out of the bullpen. Drew Hutchinson — last year's opening day starter — was sent to triple-A Buffalo.
Marcus Stroman will take the mound when Toronto opens the regular season on Sunday at Tampa Bay.
Starter. Dreams into reality. 9 every 5 with my brother. Hard work always pays off meh!🤘🏽<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/strochez?src=hash">#strochez</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/A_Sanch41">@A_Sanch41</a> <a href="https://t.co/MSuIP2wiFZ">pic.twitter.com/MSuIP2wiFZ</a>—@MStrooo6
Sanchez can appear dominant at times, but has also struggled with his control. Though the hard-throwing right-hander has surrendered only 88 hits in 125 1/3 regular-season innings at the big-league level, he has walked 53 batters while striking out 88.
Gibbons said Sanchez has shown progress in harnessing his talent.
"He's got an overpowering arm," the manager said. "He's able to control that arm a little bit now. He's in the strike zone more often."