Sánchez goes past 80 pitches in prep for week off before first start

Nationals right-hander Aníbal Sánchez wrapped up spring training with a strong 5 1/3 innings, allowing only two runs on two hits in a 5-3 win over the Yankees at Nats Park.

Sánchez allowed a solo homer to Troy Tulowitzki in the third. The Yankees mounted another rally in the sixth that resulted in another run, courtesy of a Greg Bird RBI double off of Aaron Barrett.

He walked four and struck out four, including Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. He threw 86 pitches, 47 for strikes.

Sanchez-A-Portrait-Grip-sidebar.jpg“He was really good,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez. “He exceeded what he wanted to do. He wanted to go out and throw 85 to 90 pitches, so he’s right at the mark. That’s what you’re going to get from Aníbal. He’s out there and he pounds the strike zone and uses all his pitches and keeps you in the ballgame.”

Sánchez said he discussed with pitching coach Derek Lilliquist pregame that he would try to throw more pitches tonight because of the upcoming long layoff this week before his first start of the regular season.

“I feel good,” Sánchez said. “That’s the conversation I had with Lilly about how many pitches I was going to go today because of the days I’m going to rest after this outing. So, we decided to go the longest I can. I threw like 81 (pitches) last time in Orlando, so today good opportunity to go more.

“That’s what I test today. I worked in every pitch, every situation like in the season, try to make really good sequence in the game to help to hold for (seven or eight) days. We will have two really good bullpens and then I’ll be ready for my outing.”

Sánchez went after dangerous hitters Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton with a variety of pitches. He was able to strike out Judge and Luke Voit with what the scoreboard called a splitter. Sánchez said it was actually his changeup.

“I always try to pitch good against those guys,” Sánchez said. “Those guys can hit pretty far and they can hit really hard too. They are one of those guys where I care where my pitch is going. At the end today, I executed every pitch that I threw. So that’s why I think I threw a lot of ball compared with the strike. But I tried to finish the guys, especially when I was ahead in the count.

“That’s my changeup. It always looks on the video, people just put the type of pitch as (something different). It’s my changeup. It’s breaking pretty good as it crosses the plate.”

Sánchez earned the win and finished spring with a 1-0 record and 2.95 ERA.

“Yes, I can say I feel on my top (form) right now, ready for the season. Everything is working really good. There’s nothing that I think isn’t working right now. Today was a great day to test every pitch in every situation.”

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