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Sanchez sent to minors as Blue Jays limit innings

The Toronto Blue Jays have optioned right-hander Aaron Sanchez to single-A Dunedin.
The Toronto Blue Jays have optioned right-hander Aaron Sanchez to single-A Dunedin. Fred Thornhill / File / The Canadian Press

CLEVELAND – Aaron Sanchez is being sent to the minor leagues as the Toronto Blue Jays skip a start to limit his innings.

Toronto optioned the 24-year-old right-hander to Class A Dunedin on Sunday, and the Blue Jays plan to recall him to start against Baltimore on Aug. 31.

Sanchez is 12-2 with a 2.99 earned-run average, fifth-best in the AL. He has made 24 starts and thrown a career-high 156 1/3 innings. He likely will not pitch in the minors.

“We’ve talked a lot about this over the year,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said. “Not just over the last month, but as good as Aaron has become, we all along thought at some point we’ll have to manage his workload. That’s what this is about. He’ll come right back in the rotation.”

Sanchez has struck out 132 and opponents are batting .230 against him. Left-hander Aaron Loup was recalled from triple-A Buffalo and will pitch out of the bullpen.

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Sanchez pitched three hitless innings Saturday, then allowed Cleveland to tied the score with a five-run fourth and was pulled.

“Making this move was something we tried to stay away from, talking about innings being a concern,” Sanchez said. “I still have to get ready. It’s not like my season’s over. It’s normal work when I go down there. Nothing changes for me.”

“The last few starts have been on seven or eight days (rest),” he said. “As a pitcher there’s adjustments you have to make. I don’t think I’ve forgotten how to pitch.”

The Blue Jays front office planned on keeping Sanchez to a hard innings cap at the start of the season to prevent long-term wear on his arm.

In early August Toronto changed course and opted for a six-man rotation after acquiring veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Loup has a 6.00 ERA over six inning this season for the Blue Jays. He has a 3-0 record with a 1.00 ERA over 16.2 innings with 23 strikeouts this season in Buffalo.

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