Aaron Sanchez has won the battle to become the Toronto Blue Jays’ fifth starter ahead of their season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Gavin Floyd, Drew Hutchison and Jesse Chavez all stood in Sanchez’s way for the remaining spot on the roster behind Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada.
The decision came down to Floyd and Sanchez and, while there were compelling arguments on both sides of the issue regarding Sanchez, he has been given the nod and received high praise upon confirmation of the news.
“They all had really good springs but this is the way we feel it will work best right now,” said manager John Gibbons.
“He’s a key, a lot is revolving around him. I don’t think either way we can go wrong, but we want to make sure we get it right. He’s going to be very valuable to us however he ends up.”
Floyd and Chavez will move into bullpen roles while Hutchison has been optioned to Triple A Buffalo and will provide some experienced insurance as the first man up when the Jays need another starter.
“We haven’t decided on an order yet but just because he’s the fifth man doesn’t mean he’s the fifth starter,” said Gibbons.
“Aaron has earned it and we’re going to let him run with it and see what happens. We think the sky is the limit for him.”