Blue Jays flip course, keep Sanchez in rotation

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez will remain a starting pitcher as part of a six-man rotation, reversing the team’s decision to shift him to the bullpen in an effort to limit his innings.

The announcement came when general manager Ross Atkins spoke with reporters on Thursday.

On Monday, the Blue Jays had said Sanchez would transition to the bullpen, the same day the team acquired lefty Francisco Liriano from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The decision to keep the All-Star in the rotation came after mid-week discussions with the team staff and players.

“The biggest thing is input from different people after something was more concrete, or closer to it, and the fact that Francisco Liriano was so open to everything,” Atkins told MLB.com. “Then the more we thought about the potential of a six-man rotation not just benefiting Aaron but benefiting the others in the rotation at this point in the season.”

Sanchez has had a breakout year in his first full season on the mound for Toronto. He leads the American League with a 2.71 ERA and is 11-1 in 21 starts.

But the Blue Jays want to manage his innings, as he already is at a career-high 139 1/3 this season.

His previous high was 133 1/3 between Double-A, Triple-A and the majors in 2014.

Liriano went 35-25 for Pittsburgh from 2013 to 2015 while helping the Pirates to three straight playoff berths. He has struggled this season, posting a 6-11 record with a 5.46 ERA. He is signed through 2017 and is due $13.66 million next season.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.



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