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Aníbal Sánchez should make at least one more start + more with Paul Menhart

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Aníbal Sánchez has struggled this year; Paul Menhart says Stephen Strasburg is ‘recovering well’...

MLB: AUG 24 Marlins at Nationals Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

WASHINGTON – This has been a challenging season on many levels for everyone at the Major League level.

And it could be starting pitchers that have had the toughest adjustment – just look at the number of injuries to top pitchers around the game.

According to Nationals’ pitching coach Paul Menhart, the shutdown after normal spring training and then summer camp has not been kind to veteran right-hander Aníbal Sánchez.

“I don’t think he has gotten into his groove,” Menhart told Federal Baseball on Thursday.

“This season has been so difficult, especially for the starters. They had to get mid-season ready in a three-week time frame (during summer camp). I think they are now getting into a late May type of groove. He is starting to feel like his normal self.”

Menhart notes injuries to his own staff – which includes World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, who is done for the year. And even Max Scherzer, one of the best of his era, hasn’t come close to flirting with a no-hitter as he has on a regular basis in other years with Washington. Strasburg was 0-1, 10.80 in two starts before he was shut down with right wrist carpal tunnel neuritis.

“He is recovering well,” Menhart said of Strasburg. “We anticipate him having a normal off-season – no setbacks in that regard.”

Sanchez, 36, is not an overpowering pitcher, and like many of his ilk relies a lot on “feel” in order to command the baseball while using guile and off-speed offerings to defy hitters.

But this season, Sanchez has not been able to find his groove. And now the year is almost over. On Tuesday, he gave up six runs in 4.1 innings as the Nationals lost 6-1 at Tampa Bay.

“It is unfortunate the season has to end. There are a lot of things on the wish list,” Menhart said. “We are dealing with it all.”

Sanchez is 2-5 with a 7.38 ERA in nine starts this season. Menhart expects the native of Venezuela to make at least one more start this month.

He broke into the majors with the Marlins in 2006 and is 110-113, 4.05 in 348 games in the big leagues.

Sanchez is signed through this season with a $12M club option for 2021, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.