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Biagini likely to 'pen as Sanchez eyes return

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Joe Biagini's two months in the Blue Jays' rotation have been filled with learning experiences, but as Aaron Sanchez nears the end of his rehab, Biagini is likely taking those lessons back to the bullpen.

Biagini allowed seven runs over 5 1/3 innings Sunday, surrendering some hard contact to the Red Sox and pushing his ERA to 5.03 in a 15-1 loss. Sanchez was on the mound at the same time in Triple-A Buffalo, and while Biagini has shown some signs of future potential in this role, he knows the writing may be on the wall in the short-term.

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TORONTO -- Joe Biagini's two months in the Blue Jays' rotation have been filled with learning experiences, but as Aaron Sanchez nears the end of his rehab, Biagini is likely taking those lessons back to the bullpen.

Biagini allowed seven runs over 5 1/3 innings Sunday, surrendering some hard contact to the Red Sox and pushing his ERA to 5.03 in a 15-1 loss. Sanchez was on the mound at the same time in Triple-A Buffalo, and while Biagini has shown some signs of future potential in this role, he knows the writing may be on the wall in the short-term.

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"We're all hoping that Sanchez is healthy, and he can come back soon," Biagini said after the game. "If I become the manager, I'll let you know. If not, I'm just going to try to do my best in whatever role I'm in."

Sanchez worked 4 1/3 innings for Buffalo in what is expected to be his final rehab outing for right middle finger issues. He allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four. The right-hander threw 76 pitches, 40 for strikes, which was an increase from the 64 he threw in his last rehab outing June 27.

Blister and fingernail troubles on Sanchez's middle finger have landed him on the 10-day disabled list three times, and with Toronto's rotation still seeking consistency, the 2016 AL ERA leader (3.00) will be a welcome addition. His rotation spot will come back around on Friday against the visiting Astros, then the All-Star Break will allow for some rotation re-shuffling.

Biagini's value to the Blue Jays won't slip in a his new role, and it's fully possible that he is stretched back out again in the rotation in 2018, if not sooner. Working strictly as a reliever in 2016, Biagini posted a 3.06 ERA, and unexpectedly worked his way into high-leverage innings for a playoff team.

"The thing that I'm continuing to improve at as a starter, and just in general, is walking, walking that line between being too fine and being too reckless with spots in certain counts," Biagini said. "For example, with a team like this, you don't want to lack aggressiveness, but you want to make sure that you're not being overly aggressive."

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Toronto Blue Jays