LAKELAND, Fla. -- Anibal Sanchez is on track to face hitters on Friday, and if all goes well, he may slot into the Tigers' rotation next week. The right-hander threw 50 pitches off a bullpen mound on Tuesday morning, his second such session in his path back from right triceps inflammation.
Sanchez, sidelined since shortly after pitchers and catchers began working out last month, has been progressing slowly back to action, but he has made up ground lately. A bronchial ailment limited him for a day or two late last week, delaying his mound work. If Sanchez feels fine on Wednesday, he'll be slotted in Friday for live batting practice.
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If Sanchez begins game action next week, he'd have around three weeks to stretch out his arm before the Tigers open the regular season on April 5 at Miami. Assuming he has no setbacks, that should give Sanchez enough time to be ready. Even if it's close, the Tigers could take advantage of an off-day during Opening Week to use just four starters their first turn through the rotation and buy Sanchez more time to prepare.
Wilson dealing with sore shoulder
The good news on Alex Wilson is that the workhorse reliever doesn't appear to have major shoulder damage, judging by the latest round of tests. Exactly when the right-hander will pitch again, however, remains a mystery.
Wilson underwent an MRI arthrogram, essentially an MRI exam with dye injected into the shoulder for a more precise image. In the case of a shoulder injury, head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said the dye would show any leakage in the shoulder capsule.
It did not. The test confirmed the original diagnosis of soreness in the back of the shoulder.
Wilson was expected to be sidelined for just a few days when the issue flared up last week, but he's now gone a week being limited to just playing catch. He won't pick up a ball for a few more days while his shoulder recovers from the dye injection.
Though Wilson is now a middle reliever after the Tigers' offseason bullpen makeover, he remains a vital part of their relief corps.
Add Jeff Ferrell to the list of injured starters. The right-handed relief prospect was shut down with a sore shoulder, according to Tigers manager Brad Ausmus.
Ferrell, who pitched in nine games out of Detroit's bullpen last season, is a long shot to win a bullpen spot this spring, but he is projected for a big role at Triple-A Toledo. It's unclear how long Ferrell will be down, but Ausmus said he won't pick up a ball again until the soreness is gone.
Harrell inks Minors deal
Former Astros and White Sox starter Lucas Harrell became the latest addition to the Tigers' pitching depth when he signed a Minor League contract last week. The 30-year-old right-hander pitched last year in Korea, making 30 starts for the LG Twins. Harrell could start or pitch in relief at Triple-A Toledo, where the Tigers have been trying to add proven arms to go with the prospects.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.