Tigers' Sanchez 'back on track' after 45-pitch outing

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
Anibal Sanchez

Lakeland, Fla. – News that needed to be good if the Tigers rotation is to hold up in 2016 was, in fact, good following Anibal Sanchez’s throwing session Wednesday at the Tigertown complex.

Sanchez threw a 45-pitch, game-simulation that, in his words, put him “back on track” to begin a tune-up for the regular season, which begins April 5 at Miami.

“Yeah, felt good,” Sanchez said after throwing all his pitches, at a relative mid-March pace.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus confirmed that “everything went well” for a right-handed starter, who last month turned 32, appeared fine and was ready to resume rehearsals for what is unofficially regarded as a No. 3 spot in the Tigers rotation.

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Sanchez has missed most of camp because of triceps inflammation as well as a bad bout of bronchitis.

But his ability to yet get enough work in the remaining Grapefruit League schedule is considered achievable. Ausmus hopes to get Sanchez to 90 pitches in a final tune-up in the waning days of March, before the team heads for Miami the first weekend in April.

Sanchez missed part of the 2015 season with rotator-cuff issues, part of some past history associated with right shoulder ailments.

He has averaged slightly more than 22 starts per year spanning his last five seasons. He has not made as many as 30 starts in a year since 2011.

Wednesday’s workout, he said, which featured pitches against a handful of minor-league batters, settled any concerns. At least in the mind of Sanchez.

“I figure right now I just can do what I need to go to get ready for the season,” he said.

The Tigers had a separate pitching concern Wednesday when rookie reliever Angel Nesbitt hurt his ankle during a fielding workout.

There was no estimate on how much time Nesbitt might miss. He is not considered a strong candidate to make the Tigers’ 2016 bullpen.