NEW YORK – The Toronto Blue Jays are eyeing a rehab start this weekend for Aaron Sanchez in the hopes the all-star right-hander can make a quick return from his second stint on the disabled list.
Sanchez was placed on the 10-day DL on Monday after he split the fingernail on his middle finger during a one-inning start in Sunday’s 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
While the Blue Jays certainly won’t rush him back after his first attempt to return from a procedure that removed a quarter of the fingernail on his finger as a way to alleviate his ongoing blister issues went awry, they’re optimistic he won’t need an extended absence.
"We need to (make sure he’s fully healed)," said manager John Gibbons. "All indications were everything was good. Everybody thinks it shouldn’t be very long anyway, but that’s important to do. He’s frustrated with it, everybody is frustrated with it. They seem to think once that’s fine, there shouldn’t be any problems with it."
Barring setbacks, the tentative plan is for Sanchez to pitch in a minor-league game in Florida while the Blue Jays are in Tampa Bay to play the Rays. Given the length of time between starts for him at this point – his last outing prior to Sunday was April 14 – they want to make sure he’s fully built up, and they can test the finger while avoiding the risk of dumping another eight innings on the bullpen.
Danny Barnes was recalled from triple-A Buffalo to help provide some depth Monday.
"We’re beat up down there," said Gibbons.
With an off-day Thursday, the Blue Jays can push everyone in the rotation up a day and not need a fifth starter until May 9 at home against Cleveland, but with the team in a stretch of 33 games in 34 nights, they could also choose to keep everyone on turn and slot someone in this weekend.
That would leave the Blue Jays needing a starter for May 11, the first date Sanchez would be eligible to come off.
Either way, J.A. Happ won’t be a candidate as he won’t be ready to return from his elbow inflammation. Casey Lawrence, who made two starts before he was optioned Friday following his second outing versus the St. Louis Cardinals, is one candidate to fill the void, with lefty T.J. House being another possibility.
Sanchez was initially placed on the disabled following his previous start April 14, when his persistent blister troubles flared up against the Baltimore Orioles. Three days later, he underwent the procedure in Kansas City.