FSL notes: Sanchez knows his limits

Jays righty regains form after missing time with arm tightness

Aaron Sanchez is 2-3 with a 3.23 ERA over 13 starts in his Dunedin debut. (Cliff Welch/MiLB.com)

By Guy Curtright / Special to MiLB.com | July 10, 2013 6:00 AM ET

The Toronto Blue Jays planned to limit Aaron Sanchez's innings this season, just like they had since taking the young right-hander with the 34th overall pick in the 2010 Draft.

Now, though, that is a moot point.

Sanchez, the Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect, missed a month after tweaking his shoulder with Dunedin in mid May and is just now building his workload back up.

"But I feel good," said the California native, who turned 21 on July 1. "It was nothing major at all."

Sanchez, ranked No. 29 among MLB.com's Top 100 prospects, showed that quickly when he returned to the Dunedin rotation on June 21. His first three fastballs hit 97, 96 and 98 on the radar gun.

It's that live arm that made the 6-foot-4 Sanchez the one Toronto prospect off-limits during its busy offseason. The Blue Jays, however, are committed to not pushing Sanchez too fast.

"That has been their plan from the day I was drafted, and I bought in from day one," said Sanchez, who was just 17 when selected.

Sanchez worked just 25 innings his first year and 54 1/3 the next. He was limited to 90 1/3 innings with Class A Lansing last season and will be around that this year after missing a month.

When on the mound, though, Sanchez has stood out. Opponents hit just .204 against him last year and are at .182 this season. In 225 career innings, he has 239 strikeouts.

That is why there was concern when Sanchez left after three innings against Brevard County on May 18. But it turned out to be mainly just a precaution.

"It wasn't anything crazy," Sanchez said. "Not an 'Oh, my God' thing. My shoulder was just tight the first two innings, and then I felt I didn't have anything behind my pitches in the third, although I was still throwing in the 90s."

Sanchez began a throwing program after being shut down for a week, then pitched two innings in an extended spring training game before rejoining Dunedin in time to celebrate the team's first-half championship of the Florida State League's North Division.

Sanchez allowed just one hit over three scoreless innings in his first two times back on the mound and gave up one run over four innings in his third start. But he was on the wrong side of Matt Loosen's no-hitter for Daytona on Monday, committing an error and giving up four earned runs over three innings in the 7-0 loss.

The defeat left Sanchez's record at 2-3 and raised his ERA to 3.23 in 13 starts.

Still, few are questioning the Blue Jays' decision to hold on to Sanchez while giving up top prospects such as catcher Travis d'Arnaud and pitcher Noah Syndergaard to get National League Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the Mets or outfielder Jake Marisnick and pitcher Justin Nicolino as part of the package that brought Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle from the Marlins.

Sanchez was part of an acclaimed prospect rotation with Syndergaard and Nicolino last year known as the "Lansing Three." In fact, Sanchez and Nicolino had become so close they lived together year-round.

Now, though, Sanchez stands alone.

"We all wanted to reach Toronto together," Sanchez said. "The trades split us up, but we'll be friends forever."

The trades were made a month apart in the offseason. Reality hit full force in Spring Training.

"I felt like the Lone Ranger," Sanchez said.

The new movie The Lone Ranger has been a flop. Sanchez, though, should be able to hold up to the hype. The cautious Blue Jays are attempting to make sure of that.

In brief

Back in form: Clearwater outfielder Cameron Perkins picked up right where he left off after missing five weeks when hit on the arm by a pitch. He pounded out three hits in his fourth game back Monday and was leading the Florida State League with a .335 average. Since his return, Perkins has three doubles, a homer and four RBIs in six games. Perkins, 22, was a sixth-round choice by the Phillies in the 2012 Draft out of Purdue. His return coincided when the promotion of outfielder Kelly Dugan, hitting .318, to Double-A.

Power shortage: The promotion of Daytona shortstop Javier Baez to Double-A left the FSL with just two of its top five home run hitters. Baez was tied for the league lead with St. Lucie outfielder Dustin Lawley, each with 17 homers. Lawley is still in the FSL, as is Brevard County first baseman Nick Ramirez, who has 16 homers. But Baez joined Fort Myers third baseman Miguel Sano and Clearwater third baseman Maikel Franco in Double-A. Each had 16 home runs when promoted. Miami outfielders Marcell Ozuna led the FSL with 24 homers for Jupiter last season.

Staying hot: St. Lucie first baseman-DH Jayce Boyd didn't cool off at all after being promoted from Savannah of the Class A South Atlantic League. In fact, the former Florida State standout got a little hotter. Boyd, 22, hit .381 in his first 16 games in the FSL after batting .361 in 65 games with Savannah. The sixth-round pick by the New York Mets in the 2012 Draft had a combined 30 extra-base hits and 58 RBIs. He also had 38 walks to 36 strikeouts.

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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