Gibbons: Blue Jays stretching out Aaron Sanchez

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez, front, pitches in the bullpen as Blue Jays manager John Gibbons, left, and pitching coach Pete Walker, right, watch during baseball spring training in Dunedin, Fla., on February 24, 2015. (Nathan Denette/CP)

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons took a break from the nice weather in Dunedin, Florida to join Dean Blundell and Co. on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Friday.

Gibbons discussed the team’s plans to fill out the rotation in light of the loss of right-hander Marcus Stroman for the season with a torn ACL. Gibbons tipped his hand, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear young hurlers Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris are in the mix to land starting gigs.

“We’re looking at Aaron Sanchez,” Gibbons said. “It’s not definite that he’s gonna be in the rotation now, but it kinda helps clear some things up possibly.

“Alex and I will make a decision on that. We were stretching him [Sanchez] anyway as a possibility to be in that fifth starter spot anyway.”

LISTEN: John Gibbons on Dean Blundell and Co.

Sanchez appeared in 24 games with the Blue Jays in 2014, working exclusively out of the bullpen. Norris, who appeared in five games and made one start, is also in contention to join the rotation.

“Daniel Norris is another guy competing for a spot, said Gibbons. “If he continues to pitch well down here then he could fall into there.

“We’ve got some good quality pitchers down here. They’re young but they’re very similar to Stroman. They could have the same kind of impact he had last year.”

Gibbons was also asked about rumours of last year’s squad not having a tight-knit clubhouse. Following a busy offseason that saw the likes of Melky Cabrera, Anthony Gose, Casey Janssen, Brett Lawrie, Adam Lind, and Brandon Morrow either traded or allowed to walk away as free agents, the Blue Jays are a much different club this year, according to Gibbons.

“It’s a totally different feel this spring training. The big reason why is Russell Martin, Josh Donaldson, and Michael Saunders. They’re that kind of player.”

The Blue Jays open the 2015 regular season on the road against the New York Yankees on April 6.

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