Blue Jays all-star game Notebook: Boras wants Sanchez in rotation

Former Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia breaks down why he believes his former teammate Aaron Sanchez has been struggling to locate the curve ball this season.

CLEVELAND – In recent weeks, as Aaron Sanchez‘s ERA has climbed north of 6.00, his place in the Toronto Blue Jays‘ rotation has come into question.

Would the Blue Jays move Sanchez to the bullpen where he began his big-league career in 2014? Could they option him as Ken Rosenthal has suggested on Twitter? A bounce-back start against the Orioles on Friday may have eased some concern for now, but there’s no denying that Sanchez has had trouble turning a lineup over more than once this year.

Even so, agent Scott Boras doesn’t believe Sanchez needs a change in role or a stint in the minors.

“He’s throwing 94 m.p.h. with a great sinker,” Boras told Sportsnet at the all-star game. “Aaron Sanchez is a guy who’s been through finger surgery. That’s like saying ‘I’ve got a big engine and I’m working on my steering wheel.’ He’s working through that. He’s getting consistency with it.”

The right-hander spent time on the injured list in 2017 and 2018 due to an assortment of finger issues, and he has battled nail and blister issues again this year, but he has yet to miss a start. After allowing two earned runs over five innings Friday, he was encouraged.

“I’ll tell you, tonight is the first time I felt like myself in two-and-a-half years,” he said.

Through 19 starts this season, Sanchez has a 6.16 ERA with an MLB-leading 56 walks in 92 innings. His struggles the second and third time through the order have contributed to that inflated ERA. Opponents have a .699 OPS the first time they face Sanchez, but that climbs to .956 and .898 the second and third time through.

Still, Boras suggests patience will pay off for the pitcher who led the American League in ERA three years ago.

“There’s nothing wrong with this man’s arm or his ability or his intensity. It’s a very difficult surgery to overcome,” Boras said. “I think we all know who Aaron Sanchez is. It’s just a matter of time for him to be back and be a premium starter.”

MEMORABLE WEEK FOR STROMAN

Marcus Stroman‘s family made it to Cleveland for all-star week, and their reactions have shaped his own impression of baseball’s mid-summer classic.

“This is crazy,” Stroman said. “It puts it more in perspective when I see my young brother walk around here and see how starstruck he is each and every day … I’m just really trying to enjoy.”

Though he declined to share specifics, Stroman intends to ask fellow all-stars about their best pitches in the hopes of improving his own game.

“I’m going to be picking a lot of minds,” Stroman said. “There’s definitely some pitch grips that I’m going to ask [about]. Because I’m pretty good at manipulating the ball. I’ll pick up a grip hopefully from here and go put it in a game against the Yankees on Sunday and hopefully, it’ll be effective. I’ve got some ideas about who I’m going to ask.”

VLAD JR. DREAMS BIG AND DELIVERS

Last week at Rogers Centre, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. told major-league coach John Schneider that he would hit 30 homers in the first round of the Home Run Derby. At the time, the prediction seemed bold considering that no one had ever hit more than 28.

But on Monday night, Guerrero Jr. hit 29 in the first round, 40 in the second round and 22 in the final, breaking Josh Hamilton’s record and setting one of his own.

“It’s insane,” Schneider said. “I didn’t see 91.”

Not all of those homers came on pitches in the zone, either.

“He probably hit 10 that were balls,” Schneider said. “He’s that strong.”

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