LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Aaron Sanchez’s first catch session in nearly three months went off without a hitch Tuesday, the ace Toronto Blue Jays right-hander experiencing no symptoms with either his troublesome fingernail or the finger itself.
The development is a positive first step after blister issues led to four stints on the disabled list last season before a pulley strain in his right middle finger ended his attempt at a September return as a reliever.
The Blue Jays are hoping that after a difficult year of trial and error that included a procedure to remove part of his fingernail, they now have a better handle on the issue which limited him to eight starts and 36 innings.
If healthy, he is a significant game-changer for the Blue Jays. The 25-year-old was a first time all-star in 2016 when he went 15-2 with an AL-leading 3.00 earned-run average.
Other news and notes from roaming the lobby at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin resort:
• Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reported on Twitter that the Blue Jays are among the teams expressing interest in outfielder Marcell Ozuna. The hard-hitting right-handed batter has two years of control left, and while the sense here is that they would prefer Christian Yelich, Ozuna is likely to be less expensive in terms of prospect capital. Several other teams are reportedly interested as well, and the Cardinals would have a head start given their pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton.
• Former Blue Jays reliever Neil Walker has signed with the Seibu Lions in Japan, according to industry sources. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reported that he’ll get a $750,000 guarantee with up to $300,000 in incentives.
• The New York Yankees dumped third baseman Chase Headley on the San Diego Padres, tempting them to accept the third baseman’s $13 million by sending along right-hander Bryan Mitchell. The trade is of interest to the Blue Jays because Headley may allow the Padres to perhaps trade Yangervis Solarte or Cory Spangenberg, two players who could fill the utility player role they’re seeking to fill.