During a start on Saturday, June 15, Detroit Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez returned to pitch after suffering from shoulder tightness. After 3.2 innings of two-run ball, however, Sanchez was removed from the game.
UPDATE: Tuesday, Jule 2, at 4:17 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo
Jason Beck of MLB.com provides an encouraging update on Sanchez's recovery:
In other #Tigers starter news, Leyland said Sanchez will start Saturday in Cleveland. They'll just have to watch his pitch count.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) July 2, 2013
---End of Update---
Now, according to the Detroit Tigers' official Twitter feed, Sanchez has been placed on the disabled list:
The #Tigers placed Anibal Sanchez on the DL retro to 6/16 w/ right shoulder strain. Alex Avila also placed on DL w/ left forearm contusion.— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) June 17, 2013
This isn't too surprising.
Per John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press, Tigers manager Jim Leyland was "concerned" about Sanchez after his most recent start. That word can also be associated with uncertainty, which is never a good sign when speaking about someone's health.
It's now clear that Sanchez will, in fact, miss time.
This is a significant blow for Detroit, as Sanchez is in the midst of a career year. Not only is he at a career low in ERA, but he's also on pace to set a personal best for strikeouts.
Thus far in 2013, Sanchez is 6-5 with a 2.76 ERA and 101 strikeouts.
Furthermore, Sanchez has posted the best ERA of any player in the Tigers' starting rotation. He's also eighth in MLB in strikeouts, which proves just how dominant he's been in 13 starts.
Fortunately, there was no structural damage found with his shoulder, according to the team's head athletic trainer, Kevin Rand, via Jason Beck of MLB.com:
MRI taken yesterday on Sanchez's right shoulder showed no structural damage, according to #Tigers head athletic trainer Kevin Rand.— Jason Beck (@beckjason) June 17, 2013
For that reason, Sanchez will likely return after the 15-day designation.
While the severity of this injury is expected to leave Sanchez out for 15 days, three starts could be enough for Detroit to feel his absence. The Tigers are currently 4.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the race for the AL Central division crown and five games ahead of the Kansas City Royals.
Even though the team is hoping Sanchez won't miss significant time, any missed action will have an impact on the Tigers and their rotation.