Anibal Sanchez thinks he'll pitch for Tigers in September

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Anibal Sanchez

Detroit -- Anibal Sanchez, forever optimistic, expects to be ready to pitch in September.

"I am glad it's not worse," he said before the game Saturday. "I think I will be able to be back out throwing in a few days and then be on the mound 100-percent ready to throw a good game for the team.

"We will see what's going to happen in September. I might be able to help the team make the playoffs."

Clearly not in shut-down mode. Sanchez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with rotator cuff soreness. He has been working -- with medication and treatment -- to get the inflammation out of the shoulder and there is no set timetable for when he will resume throwing.

He would be eligible to return Sept. 4.

"I started feeling something a few starts back," he said. "It wasn't something I was concerned about early on. But when it started affecting another part of my body, then, yeah, I started to be concerned."

Sanchez went to manager Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones on Wednesday and told him that the soreness had extended into his elbow.

"He said he's felt it over the past couple of months at times," Ausmus said. "He really got concerned after his last start in Chicago because now his elbow was sore. There is no issue with the elbow, but he's concerned that because of his shoulder, he was compensating too much with the elbow and that's why it was sore."

Sanchez said he thought the shoulder issues were just the normal post-start soreness.

"But it kept getting worse," he said.

Sanchez had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2003 and he also has dealt with shoulder problems, including a torn labrum in 2007 that required surgery. He was shut down in spring training in 2014 because of shoulder soreness.

"This has nothing to do with the labrum," Sanchez said. "It's just what they say, rotator cuff inflammation."

It has been a very odd season for Sanchez. Typically a reliable performer, he's struggled to maintain any level of consistency. A career-worst 29 home runs allowed, a 4.99 ERA and .252 opponents' batting average -- he hasn't looked anything like himself. But when asked, he always said physically he felt fine.

Asked if the shoulder was part of the problem, Sanchez shrugged.

"Could be," he said. "But it's part of the game."

Asked if he felt confident he'd be ready to pitch after the 15-day DL stint, he said, "Of course."

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