Jays’ Sanchez open to bullpen but hopes to start

Jaime Campbell reports from the Toronto Blue Jays Winter Tour in Okotoks, Alberta, about what role Aaron Sanchez will fill once the season starts.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez joined the Jeff Blair Show Thursday and addressed the question on everyone’s minds: what role will he play in 2015?

Aaron Sanchez on the Jeff Blair Show

While the native of Barstow, Calif. started 77 of his 93 minor league appearances before his promotion to the big leagues last season, the Blue Jays are currently in need of relief pitching. Sanchez has the ability to fill either need for the Blue Jays, but he’s hoping to join the rotation.

“I would like to start but I understand the situation,” Sanchez told Blair on on Sportsnet 590 The Fan. “We have a good team this year and have a chance to win a lot of ballgames and if that means me pitching at the back-end of the bullpen helps this team win more games than obviously that’s what I’m here to do.”

“I don’t think anything really changes if they were to name me a starter,” he continued. “I’ve done that my whole life, I’ve got a pretty good routine, that doesn’t really change that much. If things were backwards there is where you would find a little bit of change. I’ve never really come out of the bullpen except for the two and a half months last year, but I’m in good enough shape to do both, it’s up to them on what they want to do.”

The 22-year-old Sanchez was outstanding for the Blue Jays out of the bullpen in a late-season audition, posting a record of 2-2 with an ERA of 1.09. The right-hander allowed just 14 hits in 33 innings of work, while striking out 27 with a WHIP of 0.697.

His stuff and numbers spell closer and Sanchez believes he can succeed in that role if asked to.

“I find myself in one-run ball games almost every time out,” he said. “That’s what I live for, I’d rather have the game in my hands than anyone else’s, so I learned to go out there and attack these guys.”

Sanchez also went on to express his interest in working with new Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin.

“I have not come across Martin yet,” he said. “I’m going to meet him out in Vancouver in a couple days. I’m excited about that. I’ve heard nothing but good things about Russ. He’s been around the game for a long time, has a lot of information. He’s one of the best in game calling and pitch framing. What’s there not to like about that?”

Sanchez is currently in Banff on the Blue Jays Winter Tour along with teammates Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Kevin Pillar. The tour continues west into Vancouver on Jan. 23 and will feature Sanchez, Martin, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar.

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