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Sanchez Shows He Can Be Relied On

Leslie MonteiroSenior Analyst ISeptember 18, 2009

When a pitcher makes his rookie debut or come back from an injury, it takes at least five or six starts before we can judge how he does.

The Marlins activated Anibal Sanchez off the disabled list on August 20th, and Sanchez made five starts since. On Thursday night, he made his sixth start by facing the Reds at Great American Park.

He started off not good by throwing 31 pitches in that inning and giving up three runs on three hits with two walks in the process.

Sanchez eventually settled down, but that first inning cost him and the Marlins a victory as the Reds went on to a 3-2 victory.

Overall, the Marlins have to be satisfied what he has done in recent weeks.

Sanchez gave the Marlins quality starts at times, and he performed some clunkers. That's the way it goes when a guy comes back an injury.

He at least gives the Marlins a chance to win which is something Chris Volstad and Andrew Miller can't say even when those two are 100 percent health-wise.

It was a risk to put him in as a starter in the first place. The Marlins could not have any idea what to expect when they inserted him back in the rotation.

Pitchers tend to struggle to find their rhythm, and find their command of the ball after serving time in the disabled list.

To Sanchez's credit, he found a way to get by through his ability and guile, and it showed tonight against the Reds after the first inning.

He played a role in helping the Marlins stay afloat by giving his team an opportunity to win, and that's all the Fish can expect out of him.

Next year should give an idea how Sanchez fares, but if his starts showed any indication if he is going to be the pitcher he was in 2006, it's looking good.

With a year of offseason rest and opportunity to pitch a full season next year, the Marlins can bank on Sanchez to form a good starting trio that can help them win the division.

A good sign of a pitcher being back to his form is when he average six or seven strikeouts per game, and that's he did in his start against the Reds.

Anytime a pitcher can be dominating like that while he feels his way, that can only mean good things to come.

The Marlins need to hope he can stay healthy in spring training and for next season.

There's no guarantee that can happen. When a guy deals with arm problems for a course of time like Sanchez experience, it can snowball into more arm problems, and that's what he needs to avoid.

While it's good to see him show his stuff now, Sanchez and the Marlins need to cross their fingers and hope for the best.

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