Detroit Tigers high-priced starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez was scratched from a start last week with shoulder stiffness, and his return to the rotation on Saturday against the AL Central rival Minnesota Twins was less than satisfactory. Sanchez only lasted through 3 2/3 innings against the Twins, and he finished with five hits and four walks allowed. Only two runs came out of it, but two runs yields a 4.91 ERA in 3 2/3 innings. Sanchez clearly didn’t look himself out there, and you have to wonder if he was still feeling some stiffness in his upper body over the weekend.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that he is “a little concerned” about the 29-year-old starter, but Lowe notes that the seasoned Tigers manager usually uses the word “concerned” when referring to a player who is waiting to get back on track.
Although Sanchez looked very poor against the ‘Twins and was clearly not his 2.76 ERA-self (his ERA this season), it was just one start following an injury. Of course the Tigers are going to feel a little concerned about Sanchez’s injury following a start like that, but this could very well be a non-issue and Sanchez could easily get back on track with his next start. This is something to handle with patience, but it is also something to monitor closely heading into his next start on Thursday against the Boston Red Sox. Leyland is taking the wait-and-see approach, and the Tigers would be imprudent to scratch Sanchez’s start, unless if they decide to schedule an exam on Sanchez’s shoulder and find that something is indeed up.