TORONTO -- The future is now for top Blue Jays prospect Aaron Sanchez, and the club hopes his arrival will help solidify a beleaguered bullpen.
Sanchez was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo amid a flurry of roster moves Tuesday afternoon. He will settle into a middle-relief role in front of closer Casey Janssen, and Toronto is expected to limit his workload to a maximum of two innings per appearance.
The 22-year-old Sanchez is ranked the Blue Jays' No. 1 prospect by MLB.com and has the potential to become a front-line starter. For now, Sanchez will work out of the bullpen as Toronto attempts to remain in the American League East race.
"I was caught off-guard, just as much as probably everybody here was," Sanchez said. "But I'm excited to be here, I'm ready to contribute any way that I can.
"This is what I dreamt for my whole life. I don't think the age for me matters, it's about hard work and dedication to this game. Always wanting to learn, staying hungry and I think that's what it took."
Sanchez began the season in Double-A New Hampshire, where he went 3-4 with a 3.82 ERA before moving up to Buffalo. Once there, he made six starts and was informed during the All-Star break that he was going to transition to the bullpen.
Toronto opted to move Sanchez to a relief role because it wants to limit his amount of innings. He recently surpassed the 100-inning mark, and the Blue Jays would like to see him around 130 innings by the end of the season.
If Sanchez had been left in the rotation, he likely would have been shut down around the middle of August. By switching his roles, Sanchez now has the ability to finish the rest of the season.
Toronto could certainly use the help in the bullpen after right-hander Sergio Santos was designated for assignment Monday. Another former setup man, Steve Delabar, is in Buffalo after struggling earlier in the year. That left Dustin McGowan and Todd Redmond as the only righties available in middle relief.
"I did it in Spring Training; it was a little bit more scheduled but coming out of the 'pen, I don't think it's going to be that hard," Sanchez said. "I've done it a couple of times down there and I kind of adapted to it really fast.
"I had the normal soreness, just because we had three days off coming from the All-Star break, but after my second outing I bounced back real quick, so I don't think it's going to be that hard of a transition for me."