Sanchez acknowledged Wednesday that the bruised right index finger that has sidelined him for the past two months occurred when his finger got caught in a falling suitcase. The incident happened June 21, hours before Sanchez took the mound in Los Angeles against the Angels with about 180 friends and family from his hometown of Barstow, California, in the crowd.
"It got stuck in my suitcase and it started falling," Sanchez said. "It all happened in a span of about 30 seconds. I said `Ow,' and my knuckle got super fat. I pitched that day, probably didn't help, but it was the first time I was going to pitch in front of my family as a professional, and I wanted to see what I could do."
The 2016 American League ERA champion, Sanchez allowed two runs and two hits in a 25-pitch first inning that night before being replaced. After making three minor league rehab starts, he will throw a side session Thursday in Toronto. If that goes well, Sanchez will be activated off the 60-day disabled list to start against Philadelphia on Saturday.
Sanchez (3-5, 3.52) said part of the reason he stayed quiet about his injury was the attention Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez received for spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee while carrying a suitcase up the stairs in his home just before opening day. Perez did not return until April 24.
"I didn't want to say it then because I saw Salvador Perez go down with the same injury, and I didn't want to get laughed at," Sanchez said.
This isn't Sanchez's first struggle with an injury to his pitching hand. He endured multiple stints on the disabled list because of blister and fingernail issues last season, pitching just 36 innings over eight starts.