Thursday, July 17, 2008
by Bronx Liaison
Bronx, NY native Humberto Sanchez - like fellow organizational arms JB Cox and Mark Melancon - is making his way back from Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.
Sanchez began his rehabilitation work for the GCL Yankees on June 24th, and has been very effective in [mind you] a very small sample size. Including yesterday's outting, Sanchez has now made seven appearances in the Gulf Coast League, and over those 6.2 innings-pitched he has allowed just one earned run on three hits while striking out nine and walking three.
The only run Sanchez has allowed thus far came during his first appearance on June 24th, the first time he'd pitched in a profressional game since 2006. According to a source, Sanchez is already throwing in the low-90s mph with his fastball and may soon again reach the mid-90s with his heater in the coming months.
Before his arm surgery, Sanchez complimented a bowling-ball heavy fastball with a filthy 12-6 curveball, power slider and serviceable changeup.
Humberto's surgery was performed by James Andrews on April 17th of last year which means he is exactly 15 months out of surgery. The standard recovery period cited for most pitchers is 12-18 months, with the latter being the expected time table for the pitcher to really feel his velocity, command and strength return.
With that said, the time table for Sanchez remains a big, fat question mark at this point as every athlete responds differently to the surgery. Therefore, any belief that he could contribute to the big club in 2008 currently seems unwarranted at this juncture.
However, Sanchez's last season of work saw him dominate AA hitters for the Tigers to the tune of a 1.76 ERA over 11 starts, with 86 strikeouts in 71.2 innings and allowing just 47 hits and 27 walks. Those are some serious numbers for a starting pitcher at the proving grounds of AA level baseball.
So, if his rehab were to continue at this rate without setback or incident, and he breezed through Tampa/Trenton as a reliever, a short stay at AAA might allow him to break into the majors in September. A lot of things have to go right, however, for that to occur.
Should the Yankees begin to stretch Sanchez out with the intent of keeping him as a starting pitcher, I would believe the chances of seeing Sanchez in the Bronx in '08 would then be nil.
The best plan for Sanchez this year and for the future is as a potential closer or setup man as it will play up an already dangerous pitching arsenal and keep his innings count down which should help him avoid another injury. Whatever the case may be, Sanchez will be an entertaining prospect to watch in person if he hits the northeast later this Summer.