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Sanchez feels fine after first rehab start

Recovering from strained lat, righty begins assignment

CHICAGO -- Blue Jays right-hander Aaron Sanchez officially began his rehab assignment with two innings of work in the Gulf Coast League on Tuesday afternoon.

Sanchez allowed two runs on three hits and walk in his first appearance since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lat. It wasn't immediately clear how many pitches he threw in the outing, but the Blue Jays said he felt fine after the outing.

Toronto manager John Gibbons declined to provide a specific timetable for Sanchez's return because it's still too early in the recovery process, but he's not going to be back on a big league mound any time soon.

"Felt good, gave up a couple of runs, but felt good," Gibbons said of Sanchez, who had a 3.55 ERA in 11 starts this year.

Sanchez walked the first batter he faced on Tuesday and then surrendered a double to Minor Leaguer Jonathan Arauz. The first run scored during the next at-bat on a sacrifice fly before Sanchez induced a pair of grounders to get out of the inning.

During the second, Sanchez allowed singles to two of the first three batters he faced as another run came around to score. Sanchez then got one batter on a liner to center field and his day came to an end with a strikeout of Juan Luis.

Toronto is still debating what role Sanchez will be used in upon his return to the big leagues, but for now the plan is to build him up as a starter. The expectation is that he likely will throw two innings the next time out as well before starting to build up his endurance.

That likely means Sanchez won't be back until at least the end of the month, but a lot of things could change before then.

"That could happen, but we're gearing up to start," Gibbons said of a possible transition to the bullpen. "We'll see how he holds up and make sure that he still feels good."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
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