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Sanchez ready for rehab stint of 2-3 starts

Blue Jays right-hander out since June 23 with finger injury
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez is scheduled to make his first rehab start in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on Thursday. He'll be on a 55-60 pitch count as he continues to work his way back from the right index finger contusion that landed him on the 10-day disabled list on June 23.

"I think for as long as he's been out now, he's got to get two or three Minor League rehab starts before he comes back," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

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TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez is scheduled to make his first rehab start in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League on Thursday. He'll be on a 55-60 pitch count as he continues to work his way back from the right index finger contusion that landed him on the 10-day disabled list on June 23.

"I think for as long as he's been out now, he's got to get two or three Minor League rehab starts before he comes back," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

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It's the second year in a row that Sanchez has been on the DL for an extended period. He's made just 15 starts this year and pitched to a 4.52 ERA.

Prior to the injury, Sanchez had relied more heavily on his changeup this season, using the pitch 27.2 percent of the time compared to 5.9 percent last year. He had also seen a drop-off in his four-seem fastball velocity, falling from 95 mph in 2017 to 93.8 this season, according to Statcast™.

Bullpen lefty
Jaime Garcia is the Blue Jays' lone left-hander in the bullpen, but Gibbons says he's unsure how he's planning to use the 32-year-old longtime starter.

"It's a little different with him," Gibbons said. "He's getting better at getting loose quicker. You've got to try to give him enough advance notice. ... For him, we need to try to figure that out. I couldn't tell you."

Left-handed hitters are batting .214 against Garcia this season, and Gibbons mentioned he could use him against Andrew Benintendi or Mitch Moreland, two of the Red Sox's powerful lefties.

Injury updates
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has regained full range of motion and strength in his left ankle, according to the club. He was fielding ground balls prior to Tuesday's game against the Red Sox and he was re-evaluated after the workout.

Josh Donaldson has been doing plyometric exercise, working on his power and continuing his running progression, according to the team. He is scheduled to run sprints this week.

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays, Aaron Sanchez