Sánchez, 37, decided it wasn’t over after a year off, however, and after a showcase in front of a number of clubs, a new deal with the Nats brought him back to West Palm Beach to compete for a spot in the team’s 2022 rotation.
“He’s been throwing, as you know, he’s already said that he can pitch in a game and we’re like, “Hey, you’re going to throw a bullpen today, he’ll throw a live [bullpen] and then we’ll see where he’s at from there, but he’s thrown, he’s thrown a few [live bullpens] already, but he’s itching to get back,” Davey Martinez told reporters earlier this week.
“He didn’t pitch all of last year, so he’s excited, but what I did notice is he had a lot more extension on his fastball, and it was kind of nice. I mean, in 2020, it was a little short, but he worked really hard on getting back and getting that extension and finishing, and the ball was coming out really well, so I’m excited to see what he can do.”
A couple days after Martinez talked about Sánchez’s return to the organization, he talked about what he’ll be looking for as he watches the veteran starter prepare for the season.
“Obviously I know him,” he explained. “In 2020 we saw some things, but what I like about him now is that he’s got a lot of extension on his finish, on his release. And he was really good. He was throwing the ball well today. He threw a couple of really good fastballs, some cutters, but his changeup was really good, and like I said, it was more his extension. 2020, it looked like he was cutting the ball off and not getting out there, and he said it was something he’s worked on and not pitching for a year, he said might have helped him a little bit, and his body feels great, it really does. So, he looked good today, so we’ll see where he’s at his next outing, but hopefully he can stay that way.”
Sánchez gets his first start of the spring out of the way this afternoon, when he and the Nats take on the Houston Astros in their shared spring home.
NOTE: Cade Cavalli is expected to pitch in today’s game as well...
HERE’S THE NATIONALS’ LINEUP FOR TODAY’S GAME:
GAME TIME: 1:05 PM ET; FOLLOW: Radio only via 106.7 the FAN & MLB.com.