BALTIMORE -- The Blue Jays just can't seem to catch a break this season. On the same day that Russell Martin and Kevin Pillar made their returns, the club once again lost right-hander Aaron Sanchez to the 10-day disabled list.
Sanchez was placed on the DL on Saturday afternoon for the third time this season because of a right finger issue. First it was a blister, then it was a cracked nail and now the blister has popped up once again, forcing yet another extended absence.
The DL stint for Sanchez was one of several roster moves the Blue Jays made prior to Saturday night's game against the Orioles. Martin was activated from the DL, Pillar returned from his two-game suspension, outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo and catcher Mike Ohlman was designated for assignment.
"It's a blister thing," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We want to knock it out. It's aggravating him. If we don't get rid of it then it'll probably linger forever."
The hope was that Sanchez's injury was a thing of the past, but in reality, the issue never really went away. He returned from the DL for the first time on April 30, but he lasted all of one inning before an open wound started bleeding and forced his departure from the game. Sanchez returned for a second time on May 14 and made two starts, but after an appearance vs. Baltimore on Friday night, he said he was still dealing with a lot of pain.
The loss of Sanchez likely means right-hander Mike Bolsinger's spot in the rotation is safe for now. Toronto has a pair of off-days next week, so it's possible the Blue Jays can temporarily survive with four starters, but left-hander Francisco Liriano is also set to return from a sore left shoulder in the near future.
In the meantime, Sanchez will go back to waiting around for his finger to heal. There's a wide variety of treatments he has tried, including surgery to have a portion of his right middle fingernail removed, but the procedures have yet to make a real difference.
"I don't know everything he's done, but they have state-of-the-art stuff," Gibbons said. "But it's like anything, if you get a blister on your foot or something, you just keep going over it, you know? He's had it a little bit in the past, but not like this. Hopefully this will be the end of it."
The news wasn't all bad for the Blue Jays on Saturday afternoon. At the very least, Toronto got its leadoff hitter, Pillar, back in the lineup following a suspension for his use of a homophobic slur during Wednesday night's game against the Braves. Martin also returned for the first time since May 7 after dealing with an impinged nerve and cyst in his left shoulder.
"Two really big parts," Gibbons said. "Kevin was a short stay, but he had been playing so good for us. Then Russell, he's our backbone -- our anchor behind the plate. Ohlman did a great job. He didn't get a whole lot of playing time, but when he got in there, he did a nice job. Got a couple of hits, first time in the big leagues, and [Luke] Maile has done a great job with the pitching staff."