Sanchez 'normal' after bullpen session
TOLEDO -- Humberto Sanchez bounded off the bullpen mound at Fifth Third Field and smiled Thursday afternoon. Feeling no ill effects from the 10-minute session, he trotted out to shortstop and fielded a few grounders before shagging flies during batting practice.
The promising right-hander won't be pitching for Toledo during the Governors' Cup finals, with the obvious importance being placed on Sanchez making a complete and healthy return from the elbow strain that has had him on the disabled list since the beginning of August. But Thursday's bullpen session, his second this week, was cause for optimism and a precursor to his stint in the Florida Instructional League once the playoffs have ended.
"It felt normal, for once," Sanchez said. "Now I'm just going to get ready to go to Florida and finish the rest of my work for the year. I don't know how long I'll be in Florida, probably only a couple of outings. This was only my second bullpen session, so I'm a little out of shape mechanically but there was no pain in the elbow."
Sanchez, who started for the World Team at the All-Star Futures Game in July, was 10-6 with a 2.63 ERA in 20 starts for Double-A Erie and Toledo. But he hasn't started since Aug. 3, when he gave up five hits in four innings against Louisville. He was placed on the disabled list Aug. 6.
Prior to the start against Louisville, Sanchez hadn't pitched since July 19 at Pawtucket because of tenderness in the elbow. During his time between starts, he was the subject of trade rumors that had him going to Washington in a potential deal for Alfonso Soriano, a trade that never materialized.
Sanchez, who pitched a career-high 123 innings this season, threw both fastballs and breaking balls Thursday after throwing only fastballs in his previous bullpen session Monday. He said that watching his friend, Francisco Liriano, go down with another elbow injury on Wednesday was in the back of his mind as he prepared for Thursday's bullpen.
"It's funny," Sanchez said. "We both got hurt around the same time and we both took the same amount of time. I talked to him after he started against Scranton and he said he felt normal, but I haven't talked to him since everything happened yesterday.
"If it's meant to be, though, I guess it will happen sooner or later. It sure puts it in the back of your mind, though. And he said he felt normal as to what his arm felt like before."
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