In news the Braves certainly didn’t need, Anibal Sanchez was forced out of Thursday’s game early after being struck by a ball in the second inning.
Sanchez was hit by Michael Taylor’s liner. He recovered to make the out and end the inning, but was noticeably in pain as he walked off the mound. He left the game after 26 pitches as a precaution for a left-calf contusion, the team announced.
“He’s day-to-day,” manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re hoping he can make his next start. But until we get him home and look at him tomorrow, we’ll know more. That’s the optimistic view, that it’s a bruise.”
Wes Parsons took over in the third, making his major-league debut. The Nationals took advantage and went on to win 6-3.
The bruise was still swelling after the game. The ball hit the “belly” of his calf muscle, he said.
“I’m going to work with the trainers and I think right now and probably (tomorrow) will be the worst part,” Sanchez said. “We’ll see how I feel. Just because it’s the front leg, I’ll probably be able to pitch in five or six days depending on the rotation that we’re going to have.”
Sanchez, 34, has been among the Braves’ most pleasant surprises. He had a 2.89 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 84 innings entering the day. He had pitched well against the Nationals, earning a 1.69 ERA (three earned runs in 16 innings) across five outings against them this season.