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Stroman cleared for Sunday start despite blister

Donaldson 'ramping up intensity' and nearing game action
MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman has been cleared to make Sunday's start against the Rays despite a blister on his right middle finger that has been a lingering problem throughout the season.

Stroman was forced to leave his last outing against the Red Sox after seven innings when his blister popped. The product of Duke University was adamant at the time that he wouldn't have to miss a start, and in the end Stroman was proven right.

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TORONTO -- Marcus Stroman has been cleared to make Sunday's start against the Rays despite a blister on his right middle finger that has been a lingering problem throughout the season.

Stroman was forced to leave his last outing against the Red Sox after seven innings when his blister popped. The product of Duke University was adamant at the time that he wouldn't have to miss a start, and in the end Stroman was proven right.

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"It could, but everybody thinks he should be OK, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said when asked if there was a risk that Stroman's outing would be at risk of being cut short again because of the injury. "There's always a chance, but he dealt with it last year too."

Stroman's ability to make Sunday's outing means the Blue Jays will only have to find one new starter for the rotation. Toronto has yet to announce who will make Monday's start in Kansas City after right-hander Mike Hauschild was optioned to the Minor Leagues earlier this week.

Right-hander Sean Reid-Foley is the favorite to be promoted for the series opener against the Royals. Reid-Foley is Toronto's No. 10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, and is 7-4 with a 3.50 ERA in 15 starts this season for Triple-A Buffalo. Left-hander Thomas Pannone, who made his big league debut on Friday night with 1 2/3 innings against the Rays, also remains a possibility to start.

"We will soon," Gibbons said when asked if a decision had been made on Monday's starter. "We have to."

Donaldson nearing game action
Injured Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson is "ramping up intensity in Florida over the next several days and, pending his tolerance to this, will begin baserunning and preparation for game play," according to a team spokesman.

Donaldson hasn't played since May 28 because of a strained left calf muscle. His recovery has been extremely slow, and this marks the first time that the Blue Jays have openly started talking about a potential imminent return to game action.

Gibbons previously said that once Donaldson is cleared to resume running at full intensity, it wouldn't be long before he is activated from the 60-day disabled list. Donaldson is not expected to require a lengthy rehab assignment and he'll likely receive just a few at-bats in the Minors before returning.

Donaldson's imminent return could have major implications on the Blue Jays' roster. The former American League MVP is expected to be shopped before the end of the month, which is the deadline for players to be eligible for postseason play.

Injury updates
• Infielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. continues to go through throwing and hitting drills without any issues. He recently started fielding ground balls and began a "running progression," but there is still no exact timetable for his return. Gurriel has been out since July 29 with a left knee and ankle sprain.

• Infielder/outfielder Brandon Drury remains in a cast and is scheduled to receive follow-up imaging early next week. Drury has been out since Aug. 4 with a fractured left hand.

• Right-hander Aaron Sanchez is tentatively scheduled to make a rehab start for Class A Dunedin on Tuesday. Sanchez previously made one rehab appearance in the Gulf Coast League and allowed four runs over three innings. He likely will require at least two additional rehab starts before returning to the Blue Jays roster.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

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