In his four Grapefruit League starts this Spring, Aníbal Sánchez gave up 13 hits, three walks, and four earned runs in 13 innings (2.77 ERA), striking out five, and holding opposing hitters to a .277 AVG.
The 35-year-old, 13-year veteran makes one more start (weather permitting) this afternoon, in an exhibition game with the New York Yankees, then it’s on to regular season action.
Sánchez signed a 2-year/$19M deal with Washington coming off a bounce-back season in Atlanta in 2018 which saw the right-hander put up a 2.83 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 42 walks (2.77 BB/9), and 135 Ks (8.89 K/9) in 136 2⁄3 IP overall, with a .211/.278/.359 line against in 133 2⁄3 IP as a starter for the Braves.
He signed on with the Nationals, he explained this winter, because he wanted to be with a contender as his career winds down.
“I had a couple options,” Sánchez explained, “... but Washington, at the end, they put up a strong situation for the decision and besides that, it’s no doubt they are a contender for the playoffs, so for my age, I’m looking for a team that can win a World Series and thank God that I got the opportunity with Washington, they’re really a contender for that situation.”
He’s reunited with catcher Kurt Suzuki, with whom he worked last season, after a few down years in which the righty struggled, going (20-30) overall in 88 games, 68 starts, with a 5.67 ERA and 5.01 FIP in 415 2⁄3 IP in that stretch.
“Suzuki was the first pitcher who caught me in Spring Training with the Braves,” Sánchez told reporters after signing with the Nationals, “and you know after that I think I’ve known Suzuki for a while, pitched against him ... when he was with Minnesota, and I think the experience that he got behind the plate — we made really good game plans every five days when I pitched, so when you’ve got that kind of relationship between pitcher and catcher, and get a couple outings, he knows already what I’m going to throw, especially in any situation, he starts to know what kind of pitcher I am, and, you know, and believed in what I can do no matter if we’re behind in the count, and we can throw what kind of pitch, either or, go in, go out, so he’s — besides that, he frames guys really, really good, so at the end we created a really good relationship between pitcher and catcher.”
Sánchez and Suzuki are working together again today, this time in Nationals uniforms, in the final exhibition game of the Spring...
#Nats vs #Yankees (5:05 PM EDT in #Nationals Park; on MASN; MLB Network, MLB Dot , & @1067theFan): Adam Eaton RF; Trea Turner SS; Juan Soto LF; Anthony Rendon 3B; Ryan Zimmerman 1B; Matt Adams DH; Kurt Suzuki C; Brian Dozier 2B; Victor Robles CF; Aníbal Sánchez RHP.— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) March 25, 2019