Aníbal Sánchez’s bounce-back campaign in Atlanta in 2018 led to the two-year/$19M free agent deal he signed with Washington this past winter, but the veteran has struggled over his first nine starts with Nationals, going (0-6) with a 5.10 ERA, 4.79 FIP, 25 walks (5.31 BB/9), and 41 Ks (8.72 K/9) in 42 1⁄3 innings pitched before he suffered a left hamstring injury that landed him on the 10-Day Injured List.
Sánchez was coming off a (7-6) season with the Braves, in which he had 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 innings but he had struggled in the previous three seasons, putting up a 5.67 ERA, a 5.01 FIP, 131 walks (2.84 BB/9), and 377 Ks (8.16 K/9) in 415 2⁄3 IP over that stretch.
Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters before the series opener in SunTrust Park that he thought the 35-year-old veteran would be able to return to make a start against his former team, as long as he got through a last workout without any issues.
“He said he feels good,” Martinez explained, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
“And he only missed one start, too. He said he feels good. But I want to make sure when I talk to him tonight he’s 100 percent.”
Sánchez didn’t make any rehab starts, but Martinez said he thought the right-hander looked good enough in simulated outings that he could return straight to the rotation.
“We won’t limit him,” Martinez said, as quoted by Washington Post writer Jesse Dougherty.
“We’ll just figure out how he’s doing, and it all depends on the leverage he is doing it in.”
Martinez confirmed the fact that Sánchez would go tonight at the end of last night’s post-game press conference, telling reporters, “Yeah, it’s going to be Sánchez,” when asked if he’d made a decision on who would start the second of two games against the Braves.
In order to make room on the roster for Sánchez’s return, the Nationals optioned reliever James Bourque to Triple-A Fresno after the reliever made one appearance out of the pen.
#Nationals reinstated right-handed pitcher Aníbal Sánchez from the 10-day injured list and optioned right-handed pitcher James Bourque to Triple-A Fresno on Wednesday.— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) May 29, 2019