Blue Jays want one more rehab start for Sanchez

Blue Jays want one more rehab start for Sanchez

TORONTO -- Right-hander Aaron Sanchez will need another rehab start with Triple-A Buffalo before he is ready to come off the 15-day disabled list the Blue Jays said Friday.

Sanchez made his first appearance for Buffalo on Thursday night and allowed two runs on five hits, two walks and a hit batter in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 63 pitches, but only 32 stikes.

After the game, Sanchez declared himself ready for a return, but the Blue Jays would like to see a higher pitch count and improved command before they allow that to happen.

"He felt good, I think he was a little erratic that first inning," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He faced seven or eight guys and then he settled in OK ... We want him feeling good. He was on a nice little roll when he got injured, but he's going to be vital to us one way or the other."

Both of the runs that Sanchez allowed came in that first inning. He surrendered two singles and a double plus hit a batter and walked another before turning things around.

Sanchez arguably was the Blue Jays' best starting pitcher when he suffered a strained lat and was placed on the DL retroactive to June 6. The 23-year-old posted a 2.91 ERA over his final seven outings and while control was an issue earlier in the year, he began to limit the number of walks.

The hope is that Sanchez will be able to pick up where he left off, but his role remains somewhat up in the air. Toronto has at least contemplated moving him to the bullpen, but that's not expected to happen unless the club adds at least one starter before the upcoming July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Before any of those decisions can be made, Sanchez will have to work out a few more kinks in Buffalo.

"I don't think you can look at the score but when you talk about ball-strike ratio, yeah that matters," Gibbons said of the evaluation process of a rehab assignment. "Very rarely do you see guys down on rehab dominate down there. I can't remember ever seeing it much when I was in the Minor Leagues. But it's not like he's some old vet either, going down there. Really, he's still figuring himself out anyway."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.