Sanchez makes strong pitch for rotation job

Sanchez makes strong pitch for rotation job

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Aaron Sanchez doesn't know whether he will end up winning the final spot in the Blue Jays' starting rotation or instead be asked to pitch out of the bullpen, but no matter what happens, it's clear the 23-year-old isn't going down without a fight.

Sanchez made yet another strong case for a starting job with 6 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-1 victory over the Mets on Wednesday afternoon. He allowed four hits and struck out four, but perhaps most importantly, Sanchez didn't walk a batter.

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Results in Spring Training can be somewhat deceiving, but Sanchez has been more than just effective. At times, he has been borderline dominant. His case for the rotation is building, but for now, Sanchez will let the performance do most of the talking.

"It is what it is. I'm going to go out there and do my thing," Sanchez said after his outing. "I can't control that decision. They've watched, they've seen what I'm doing, Gavin [Floyd] is pitching well, too. It's a decision that they're going to have to make."

Sanchez is part of a heated competition for the fifth-starter's job, which also includes veteran Gavin Floyd, right-hander Drew Hutchison and to a lesser extent Jesse Chavez. At this point, it's anyone's guess who will be handed the job, but by all accounts, the competition is mostly down to Sanchez and Floyd.

The opinions inside the organization seem to vary. Some people will privately say there's no question Sanchez should be a starter, while others suggest the team is best served with him in the bullpen. These are good problems to have, but time is running out to make a decision and an announcement is expected to come at some point over the next week.

Sanchez has been very vocal about his desire to start, but at the same time, he says that he will accept whatever role Toronto ultimately picks. To have any chance at all, Sanchez needed a strong spring, and he has more than come through on that end with three earned runs and 19 strikeouts compared to three walks over 20 innings.

"My routine is so solid," Sanchez said. "I came into Spring Training ready to go. I knew what I needed to do. It's progression, I guess you could say, as the workload on the field continues. Obviously you have to do more in the gym. I'm in a perfect place. Like I said, I knew what I needed to do going into this year and just continue doing it."

Floyd has done his part, too, with a 2.19 ERA in 12 1/3 innings. At least for now, the competition is set to continue, with the next round set for Friday when Floyd is scheduled to start in a Minor League game at the Bobby Mattick complex.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.