Sanchez scratched with upper back/shoulder stiffness
The Tigers were one of the last couple teams in the big leagues to get through the season with just five starters so far. The way their rotation has been pitching, they didn’t look like they had any changes coming soon. With an injury to Anibal Sanchez, however, they’re about to need a spot starter.
Jim Leyland announced this afternoon that Sanchez will not make his scheduled start Sunday. Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand characterized the injury as shoulder stiffness, while Sanchez said it was more around his upper back.
Sanchez said he had the same injury last year in spring training with the Marlins, but skipping a start cleared it up. The fact that he was able to throw his side session yesterday makes it sound like much the same thing, but time will tell.
With Sanchez out, the Tigers are calling up left-hander Jose Alvarez from Triple-A Toledo to make what they hope is a spot start. Had this whole thing happened early in the year, Drew Smyly would’ve probably filled in. At this point, however, Smyly isn’t stretched out enough to cover more than a few innings.
The Tigers signed Alvarez as a minor-league free agent last offseason. He currently leads the International League with 76 strikeouts while ranking second with a 2.42 ERA and third with 74 1/3 innings.