The injury bug continues to plague the Blue Jays in the final days of this forgettable season.
General manager Ross Atkins announced on Tuesday that right-hander Aaron Sanchez had surgery on his right index finger that same day.
And infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is also done for the season, thanks to a Grade 2 hamstring strain suffered during his first at-bat of the night in Monday’s loss to the Houston Astros.
Atkins told reporters over the weekend surgery was a possibility for Sanchez, who bruised his finger in late June when he got it caught in a piece of falling luggage. The 26-year-old did return to the mound in late August but had mixed results through five starts, going 1-1 with a 6.04 ERA. After his last outing on Sept. 18, when he lasted four innings and need 77 pitches against the Baltimore Orioles, a frustrated Sanchez wanted more information about why he wasn’t able to perform at the highest level and sought insight from the third of the three top hand surgeons in the U.S.
Sanchez did consult with the third surgeon prior to surgery, exchanging images rather than seeing him in person, Atkins said. The general manager wouldn’t immediately specify the nature of the surgery, which he said was happening as he spoke.
“They go in there and it could be more involved, it could be less involved,” Atkins said. “Whether or not that is going to be just as simple as taking a look versus a pulley strain, it’s probably best for us just to wait and see what the actual outcome is.”
With the information he had as of Tuesday afternoon, Atkins expected Sanchez would recover in time for spring training.
This setback is the latest in a long list of finger-related issues Sanchez has dealt with in the two years since leading the American League with a 3.00 ERA in 2016. He has been relegated to just 28 starts the past two season thanks to blisters, a previous pulley strain and this year’s bruise.
Manager John Gibbons hoped surgery would be the final step in getting Sanchez back to his old self.
“He was on top of the world a couple of years ago and then he’s been knocked down,” he said. “That’s a big part of the frustration, he hasn’t been able to do much the last two years.”
As for Gurriel, the hamstring strain will keep him out of a dream series against his brother, Astros third baseman Yuli Gurriel. It was the first time the brothers were to face each other in a big league game, but the tete-a-tete was limited to the lone at-bat.
Still, Gibbons said the 24-year-old, who hit .309 with 11 home runs and 35 RBIs this year, did a “tremendous” job in his rookie season, despite its premature conclusion.
With files from Richard Griffin