TORONTO — Aaron Sanchez was reluctant to share how he hurt the middle finger on his pitching hand when it happened two months ago.
Now that he‘s poised to return to the major league mound, he‘s ready to put the freak injury behind him.
The Blue Jays right-hander has been on the disabled list since June 23 with a contustion on the finger, which happened when he got it stuck in his luggage during the team‘s trip to Los Angeles.
"I didn‘t want to say it then because I saw (Royals catcher) Salvador Perez go down with the same injury and I didn‘t want to get laughed at and it was probably none of (the media‘s) business how it happened," Sanchez said before Toronto‘s game against the Orioles at Rogers Centre on Wednesday afternoon.
"It got stuck in my suitcase and it started falling. It happened all 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."
Sanchez, a native of Barstow, Calif., lasted just one inning in that start against the Angels, allowing two runs, two hits and one walk.
Looking back, Sanchez said he likely shouldn‘t have pitched after the injury. But with his family and friends in the stands — he estimated about 180 people were there to watch him — he gave it a go.
"When you‘re a competitor and this is all you know sometimes you don‘t think in situations and maybe that‘s why it took two months, who knows?" he said.
Sanchez has been hampered by finger injuries over the past couple seasons. He was limited to just eight starts (36 innings) because of a nagging blister in 2017.
Sanchez made 15 starts this season before hitting the DL. The 2016 American League earned-run average leader is 3-5 with a 4.52 ERA this year.
The 26-year-old is to throw a side session Thursday. If that goes well, he will likely start Saturday, a Blue Jays home game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
"Honestly I didn‘t think I was going to make it back after missing so much time over the last few years," Sanchez said. "So just to be back here hopefully contribute this last month and a half, I‘m looking forward to it."