Gaviglio in line to start Blue Jays’ Saturday meeting with Red Sox


Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Sam Gaviglio.

BOSTON — With Marco Estrada hitting the disabled list Friday, Sam Gaviglio is in line to start for the Toronto Blue Jays Saturday, according to manager John Gibbons.

If he makes the start, Gaviglio will pitch on only two day’s rest after he threw 48 pitches over 1.2 innings against the Atlanta Braves Wednesday. Gaviglio allowed six runs on six hits that night, precipitating his early hook and allowing him to pitch again so soon.

Considering the quick turnaround, it’s hard to imagine Gaviglio running up a high pitch-count in a potential start Saturday, even if he’s having success. But Gibbons said Friday he was confident he’d be able to get some length out of his starter.

“We’ll just let him go and see how long he can go,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “When he’s on, he can minimize his pitches and throw some innings. It’s not an easy lineup — so, that could be a factor, too.”

That lineup — the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox — is leading baseball in both runs scored and batting average, which will certainly pose a challenge for Gaviglio. The last time the soft-tossing right-hander started against the Red Sox — on May 30 — he allowed four runs on seven hits over six innings, throwing 83 pitches.

One thing that could throw a wrench into Toronto’s plans would be a short outing from Ryan Borucki Friday, or a game that stretched deep into extra innings. That would necessitate Gibbons burning one or both of his two long relievers — Luis Santos and Jake Petricka — which would leave the Blue Jays exposed if Gaviglio isn’t able to pitch deep into Friday’s game.

Ben Nicholson-Smith is Sportsnet’s baseball editor. Arden Zwelling is a senior writer. Together, they bring you the most in-depth Blue Jays podcast in the league, covering off all the latest news with opinion and analysis, as well as interviews with other insiders and team members.

Thomas Pannone, who recently returned from an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance, is both on the 40-man roster and scheduled to start for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons on Saturday. But when his name was raised to Gibbons Friday as a potential starter, the Blue Jays manager quickly shot it down.

Veterans Chris Rowley and Nick Tepesch were also considered for Saturday’s start, but neither is on Toronto’s 40-man roster. That means the Blue Jays would have to designate a player for assignment in order for one of those two to join the Blue Jays in Boston and make the start.

Estrada, meanwhile, hits the disabled list with the left glute issue that has held him out since July 3, when he left a start after recording only one out. He’s scheduled to throw a side session Sunday in Boston to test his recovery.

The most a team can backdate a DL stint is three days, an option the Blue Jays have taken advantage of, backdating Estrada’s to July 10. That means he’ll be eligible to return from the DL as soon as the Blue Jays resume play following the all-star break.

Hernandez scratched

Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez was scratched from Toronto’s starting lineup Friday due to soreness in his left heel. Dwight Smith Jr., who was recalled from triple-A earlier in the day to take Estrada’s spot on the 25-man roster, took Hernandez’s spot in the lineup, playing left field.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Jaime Garcia threw a scoreless inning for the Dunedin Blue Jays Thursday, taking the mound for the first time since June 19. Garcia threw 15 pitches (12 strikes) and struck out a pair as he continues to recover from left shoulder inflammation.

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