Aaron Sanchez is on his way to Triple-A Buffalo and Toronto manager John Gibbons has not ruled out the possibility that the 21-year-old might make his Major League debut before the season is out.
“If there’s a need, and the organization feels he’s ready, why not him?” Gibbons said Thursday afternoon about Toronto’s top-rated pitching prospect.
Gibbons was speaking from his office here at Camden Yards prior to the Blue Jays taking the field for the first game of a four-game series against American League East rival Baltimore Orioles.
Earlier in the day the news broke that Sanchez, Toronto’s first-round high school draft pick in 2010, was being promoted to the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo and will likely start for the Bisons in Saturday’s game in Toledo against the Mud Hens.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound native of Barstow, Calif., had been pitching in Double-A for New Hampshire this season where he was 3-4 with a 3.82 earned run average.
The right-hander can blaze a fastball upwards of 95 miles an hour and he is averaging 7.8 strikeouts for every nine innings pitched.
And while his 5.5 walks per nine innings is high, Gibbons said that might not be such a concern.
“You’ve got to remember too, with Sanchez, he’s got that big-time arm and his big pitch is his sinking fastball and there’s a lot of life to that,” Gibbons said. “That’s a tough pitch to command and even keep in the zone a lot.
“So he’s maybe one of those guys his whole career that he walks guys. That doesn’t mean he can’t pitch at this level or be very good because his specialty is ground balls. So he can erase some of those walks, some of those hits, with one pitch.”
Blue Jays centre fielder Colby Rasmus, who has been nursing a hamstring injury since mid-May, is also expected to play in his first rehab game in Buffalo Thursday night as the designated hitter.
On Friday, Rasmus is to play five innings in the field and then DH again in Saturday’s game.
After that Gibbons said the Blue Jays will re-evaluate how his leg is feeling and then chart a new course of action.