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Sanchez slated to rejoin rotation Friday

Blue Jays righty clears final hurdle in recovery from blister on finger
MLB.com @gregorMLB

NEW YORK -- Aaron Sanchez has cleared the final hurdle on his road to recovery and appears set to return to the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Sanchez completed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday afternoon. He allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings.

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NEW YORK -- Aaron Sanchez has cleared the final hurdle on his road to recovery and appears set to return to the Blue Jays on Friday night.

Sanchez completed his rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday afternoon. He allowed four runs on five hits and three walks while striking out four over 4 1/3 innings.

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The 25-year-old is tentatively scheduled to start the second game of Toronto's home series against Houston. That would allow Sanchez to get some work in before the All-Star break, and after throwing 76 pitches Sunday, he should be in the 90-pitch range for his first outing.

"He felt really good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I saw his finger today, there were no signs of anything."

Sanchez has been out since May 19 because of a blister on his right middle finger. He has been on the disabled list twice this season for the same issue and has made just five appearances for Toronto. Right-hander Joe Biagini is expected to rejoin the bullpen to open up a rotation spot for Sanchez.

Maile on borrowed time

Backup catcher Luke Maile is expected to be optioned to Buffalo before Tuesday afternoon's game against the Yankees. Maile will be sent down to make room for veteran catcher Miguel Montero, who was acquired from the Cubs on Monday in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named.

With the move, Toronto clearly prioritized getting some offense from its backup catcher spot. Montero has some well-documented defensives issues behind the plate, with 20 stolen bases against him vs. just one caught stealing, but he also has a career .758 OPS and above-average power.

Maile is known more as a defensive specialist. He drew rave reviews for his work with Toronto's staff, but he entered play Monday with 11 hits in 96 at-bats. For a team struggling to score, the Blue Jays were looking for more.

"I've got nothing but good things to say about Luke for what he has done for us," Gibbons said. "He has been really, really good behind the plate. Not a lot of hits, but a lot of guys don't get hits when they're not playing much. But his strength is definitely handling the pitching staff, and throwing, and I think he has done a great job with that."

Sparkman sent packing

Right-hander Glenn Sparkman, a Rule 5 Draft pick, was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on Monday afternoon. Right-hander Mike Bolsinger was recalled from Buffalo to take Sparkman's spot on the 25-man roster and he'll assume long relief duties out of the bullpen.

Sparkman was cut loose less than 24 hours after he allowed seven runs on seven hits while retiring just one batter in a 15-1 loss to the Red Sox on Sunday afternoon. Toronto could opt to trade Sparkman, but he cannot be sent down to the Minor Leagues by any team without being first offered to Kansas City.

If another team traded for Sparkman, it would have to place Sparkman on a 25-man roster or else risk losing him to the Royals. If Kansas City wants Sparkman back, it can simply choose to pay $50,000 for his contract unless it's protected on an active roster. Sparkman missed the first 2 1/2 months of the season with a fractured right hand and lasted only two appearances upon his return.

"Bolsinger has been throwing really good down there," Gibbons said. "Coming off a really good start and it was four days ago. We need some length."

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

Toronto Blue Jays, Aaron Sanchez