Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila and Nick Castellanos signal to the trainer for pitcher Anibal Sanchez, right, during the fifth inning. (Fred Thornhill / Associated Press)
Toronto – Anibal Sanchez walked to the dugout from Rogers Centre’s field Friday night, two outs into the fifth inning, after right pectoralis strain forced him from the opening game of the Tigers-Blue Jays series.
Sanchez had just gotten the second out in Toronto’s half of the fifth when he struck out Josh Thole. But before the next batter, Ryan Goins, arrived at the plate, Sanchez signaled he needed a trainer. The pectoralis connects upper chest muscles with arm and shoulder bones.
Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, team trainer Kevin Rand, and a group of Tigers infielders huddled around the mound as Rand and Sanchez talked. Sanchez was allowed a practice pitch. He made one toss to Avila and immediately left the mound and headed for the Tigers’ clubhouse.
He departed a game the Blue Jays were leading, 4-2, a lead they were still holding in the seventh inning. No estimate yet from training staff on how long he might be out.
Sanchez was replaced by left-handed reliever Blaine Hardy.