Anibal Sanchez suffered a left hamstring strain that forced him out of today’s start in the second inning, and Nationals manager Davey Martinez told reporters (including Sam Fortier of the Washington Post) that Sanchez is headed for the injured list. This will keep Sanchez out of action for at least one start, though the veteran righty will undergo an MRI tomorrow to determine the extent of the hamstring problem.
Today’s news only adds to what has been a rough start to Sanchez’s stint with the Nationals, as he has managed only a 5.10 ERA over 42 1/3 innings with the club. Following a nice bounce-back year with Atlanta in 2018, Sanchez inked a two-year, $19MM free agent deal with Washington in December, but has thus far struggled to replicate his success from last season.
Sanchez is allowing significant less soft contact in 2019 than he did in 2018, and he has also displayed an uncharacteristic lack of control. Sanchez’s 5.31 BB/9 would be a career high over a full season, far exceeding his 2.7 BB/9 from 2010-18.
The Nationals have already been hit hard with injuries this season, and now have yet another hole to fill with Sanchez set to miss time. Erick Fedde would seem like the most logical candidate to start while Sanchez is out, though Martinez only said that the club was still discussing its options. While Fedde has a history as a starting pitcher, the Nats have been using him as a reliever this season, and a jump back to the rotation could disrupt that has thus far been a solid transition to the bullpen. Fedde allowed four runs to the Mets over 2 2/3 innings today, though he hadn’t allowed a run in eight innings prior to today’s rough outings.