A blister. You would not think that a blister could put a Major League ball player on the disabled list but it is more common than you think. Probably not talked about as much as, say, a sore elbow these days but it does happen. Josh Beckett, for instance, suffered through multiple stints on the DL early on in his career due to a similar type of injury.
Well, that’s what happened to Anibal Sanchez, the third man in the Detroit Tigers starting rotation. He got a blister. He pitched through the first 2 2/3 innings of Saturday’s game throwing 53 pitches before having to exit the game. Tigers’ manager and former MLB catcher Brad Ausmus, said of the blister,
“It looked nasty. It really did. As soon as I went out there and saw it I was caught between throwing up and pulling him out of the game. It looked gross.”
A former catcher who worked with pitchers for 18 seasons, many of whom must have had blisters, and this blister made him want to throw up? It must be really bad. Ausmus also said that he couldn’t believe that Sanchez pitched as much as he did in the game with his finger that way.
The Tigers did not hesitate and immediately put Sanchez on the disabled list. He may be their third starter but on any other team he would be an ace. Sanchez led the American League in ERA in 2013 at 2.57 just beating out Oakland’s Bartolo Colon(2.65) by not giving up a run in his final start of the season. Behind Justin Verlander and reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, Sanchez’s importance is often overlooked. However losing him for 15 days will be a blow to the Tigers.
Sanchez will, under the best circumstances, be eligible to pitch again on May 12th. Between now and then he has three scheduled starts. His start in this week would have been on Friday but thanks to the way the MLB schedule is put together the Tigers have two days off this week. Drew Smyly was going to be relegated to the bullpen for a short time due to the off days but he will now be needed. The Tigers should be able to survive with a four man rotation until May 6th but Sanchez still has a scheduled start that will need to be filled. Ausmus has made no indication on his plan to replace Sanchez for that period.
Despite the fact that Sanchez is 0-2 on the year in four starts, his ERA is at 3.54 and he has 22 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched. The loss of Sanchez will certainly have an impact on the Tigers.