Jays' Sanchez reassigned to Minors camp

Right-hander didn't allow a run in 12 1/3 Spring Training frames

Aaron Sanchez was ranked the No. 23 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com this offseason. (Jason Wise/MLB.com)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | March 22, 2014 11:40 AM ET

Now, the waiting begins.

One day after he tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings in his first Spring Training start, Aaron Sanchez was reassigned to the Blue Jays' Minor League camp Friday, along with pitching prospect John Stilson and veteran infielder Dan Johnson. Outfield prospect Kevin Pillar was optioned as well.

The 21-year-old right-hander was spotless throughout his time in Major League camp, scattering just nine hits and six walks to go with eight strikeouts in his 12 1/3 scoreless frames. He held opposing batters to a .220 batting average.

His performance undoubtedly caught the eyes of the big club.

"It was extremely impressive, there's no doubt about it," Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker told MLB.com after Friday's gem. "He came out throwing strikes. He was composed. Faced their lineup, I'm sure close to their Opening Day lineup, faced all their big hitters and certainly handled them pretty well. Pounded the zone, got ahead of the hitters, didn't work from behind in the count, showed an explosive fastball and like I said, a lot of poise and a lot of ground-ball outs."

The hurler, however, tempered some of the flames that come with a hot performance from a big-name prospect.

"I wouldn't say there were any expectations," Sanchez told MLB.com. "It's good to get my feet wet. Coming into camp, for me, it was to soak everything all in, learn from the veteran guys, just go out and have fun."

Sanchez will likely start the year at Double-A New Hampshire. He produced a 3.34 ERA to go with 75 strikeouts and 40 walks last season over a limited 86 1/3 innings at Class A Advanced Dunedin after missing nearly a month with shoulder issues. The right-hander owned a 1.16 ERA with 21 strikeouts and 11 walks over 23 1/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League, where he started in the prospect-heavy Rising Stars Game.

Pillar and Stilson will return to Triple-A Buffalo, where each of them played in 2013. Johnson was also assigned to the Bisons.

Pillar broke out with a .307/.353/.461 slash line in 123 games between Buffalo and New Hampshire last season. The 25-year-old appeared in 36 games for the Blue Jays, where he slashed .206/.250/.333 across 110 plate appearances.

Stilson, 23, owned a 2.09 ERA with 47 strikeouts and 15 walks in 47 1/3 innings of relief with Buffalo.

Buffalo will be Johnson's fifth different International League team since 2008 after splitting time at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Norfolk last season. The first baseman slashed .250/.378/.439 with 21 homers and 70 RBIs in Triple-A ball.

Sam Dykstra 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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