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Blue Jays' Sanchez ready to close the door on injury-filled 2017 season

TORONTO — Aaron Sanchez is ready to put his finger issues behind him and never look back.

A frustrating season came to a close for the Blue Jays right-hander over the weekend when the team officially shut him down for the remainder of 2017.

What started as a blister on his right middle finger and expanded into a nail issue early in the year has now developed into a pulley sprain in his tendon, which Sanchez found out about on Friday.

For now, the only solution for the 25-year-old is rest. But he and the team will continue to explore options over the off-season to prevent his blisters from re-emerging.

"I don't even want to look at my finger, that's how irritated I've been with all this stuff," Sanchez said Monday before the Blue Jays played the visiting Baltimore Orioles. "I think I'll have an answer before I even pick up a ball on what kind of strategy or what we need to do moving forward.

"I'm trying to take care of that now because when I pick up a ball I'm slamming the door on all this (stuff) that happened this year."

Sanchez went on the disabled list four times over the course of the season and had a procedure done to remove part of his fingernail in an attempt to fix the nagging problem.

He lasted just one inning (13 pitches) in his first return from the DL on April 30 against Tampa Bay before his finger began to bleed. In his last start against Boston on July 19, Sanchez was pulled after giving up five runs over four innings in a 5-1 loss.

He landed back on the DL when another blister reappeared in the same spot on his middle finger.

"I can't pinpoint exactly when (the strain happened), I'm sure it was the accumulation of everything," Sanchez said. "When I went and pitched against Tampa Bay and came out after one inning it probably started. 

"A strain is something where it repeatedly happens so it was probably getting strained until my body told me, 'Hey, I can't go.' I can't pinpoint when and how. I just know what the problem was and we addressed it and now we move forward."

Sanchez pitched just 36 innings in 2017 with a 4.25 earned-run average, 24 strikeouts and a 1-3 record.

The abbreviated season comes a year after he went 15-2 with an American League-best 3.00 earned-run average, 161 strikeouts and 192 innings pitched while appearing in his first all-star game.

Sanchez, who's dealt with blisters in the past, refused to place any blame on the baseballs being used by MLB, as other pitchers — including teammate Marcus Stroman — have done this year.

"Everybody else has complained about it, I don't need to add to it," Sanchez said. "MLB knows what's going on in terms of people having assumptions that things are different, they'll figure it out. I don't need to add to that. That's where I stand on it.

"If it is something then we'll all know. But I've had problems with blisters so I don't blame the ball on being the issue."

Melissa Couto, The Canadian Press

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