Jays’ Sanchez: ‘My first couple times pitching, I was in the 90s’

Chris O'Meara/AP

Aaron Sanchez

Age: 23 | Height: 6-4 | Weight: 215 lb.
Hardware: First person from Barstow, Calif., to play in MLB

Do you like it when your mom comes to the game with a cardboard cutout of your head?
I love it.

You don’t call her after and say: “Mom, that’s so embarrassing!”
No, I love it. She doesn’t know much about baseball, which I absolutely love. I can call her after a bad game and she’s more worried about how I am and what I’m up to.

Do you talk to your dad about baseball?
I talk to my dad every day. It doesn’t have to be about baseball. I’ve got nieces and nephews, so I check in about them. We talk for an hour about nothing, just to talk, just to hear him, to make sure everything’s good, and my day’s fine after that.

When did you decide pitching was what you wanted to do?
I always had a good arm, so pitching was something I did when it was a need. I played short my whole life, then I started getting to travel ball, doing showcases and stuff like that. They asked if I could pitch, and my first couple times, I was in the 90s.

Do you remember the first time your curveball curved?
I threw one in little league. Maybe nine or 10 years old is when I started messing around with it. I couldn’t tell you the exact day.

How much have you developed since you were part of that “Lansing 3” [with Justin Nicolino and Noah Syndergaard]?
I think there are still a lot of similarities from that time to now. Obviously I’ve grown, I’ve gotten stronger, but in the sense of pitches, I don’t think there’s much change. In the cat-and-mouse game of pitching, understanding how to pitch, I’ve taken tremendous steps forward.

Has your control improved?
I would think it has.

How come? Repetition?
Absolutely. I think the biggest thing up to this point was having the reps, and now that I do, it’s starting to show.

Was there any doubt in your mind you’d be a starter this season?
None. My thing was: “Give me the opportunity to do it and I’ll let you guys determine if I can or can’t.” I knew how prepared I was coming into spring training. I felt like I would just let my actions speak for me, and it turned out the way it should have.

You live with Marcus Stroman. Do you get sick of him?

But you see him all day, every day.
I don’t think we’ve fought in the four years we’ve known each other.

Who cooks?
Me. He cooks, too, but not as often.

Is nine every five [nine innings every five days] still your motto?
Absolutely. I feel like that should be every starting pitcher’s motto.

It’s a tall order.
You gotta think outside the box. That’s our mindset every time out.

What else should Blue Jays fans know about you that maybe they don’t know?
I got long legs, but everybody knows that. There’s not much more.

Can you touch your toes?
Yeah. I’m flexible.

What does an off day in Toronto look like for you?
Wake up, have breakfast. Depending on when I pitch next, try to do a Shangri-La steam room, massage…

What a life you lead.
…then lunch, then maybe laundry or something that involves me being at home until dinner, then dinner and back to bed.

I wanted to talk to you about umpires.
No, I don’t wanna talk about that.

Are you sure?
I’m positive.

But you don’t know what I’m going to ask.
I don’t want to talk about that.

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