Sanchez may be headed back to DL with blister

July 21st, 2017

CLEVELAND -- was scheduled to visit a hand specialist on Friday afternoon and it seems another stint on the disabled list will be required because of a blister.

Sanchez has been on the 10-day DL three times already this season because of a blister on his right middle finger that just won't go away. It now seems like a fourth is all but a foregone conclusion after his throwing off flat ground on Friday was canceled in favor of a visit from the doctor.

Toronto has yet to officially rule out Sanchez from his scheduled Monday start against Oakland. The Blue Jays will make the final call after an official diagnosis.

"There's a doctor in town here that he'll see today," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "We'll see in the next couple of days if we need to DL him."

Right-handers and would be the likely candidates to take over Sanchez's spot in the rotation if he goes on the DL. Valdez tossed four scoreless innings in relief of Sanchez on Wednesday, and if Toronto can avoid using him this weekend in Cleveland, he becomes a logical choice.

Biagini is another possibility but the Blue Jays recently moved him to the bullpen. Biagini has made 11 starts this season but has already tossed 81 innings and at some point workload will become a concern. It's also questionable whether Toronto is willing to transition Biagini back to the rotation once again with the health risks that would bring.

Smith unofficially rejoins Blue Jays

Right-hander Joe Smith was in uniform at Progressive Field on Friday but the veteran reliever has yet to be officially activated from the DL. Smith recently completed a rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo and there was some initial thought that he would be available to pitch for Toronto on Friday night but instead the club will wait another day.

The Blue Jays wanted to give Smith another day of rest and also prioritized relievers who can throw multiple innings on Friday because of an overworked bullpen. Smith typically throws one inning at a time and, at least initially, will not be used on consecutive days.

"He's feeling better," Gibbons said. "We'll watch him. He won't see many back-to-back days right away. But [Friday], our bullpen is pretty beat up. So instead of making a move, because he's a one-inning guy, we need guys who might be able to throw multiple innings if something goes sour."