Sanchez returns to DL with split fingernail

Blue Jays confident right-hander will be able to avoid an extended absence

Sanchez returns to DL with split fingernail

NEW YORK -- The Blue Jays placed Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list Monday as the right-hander continues to battle issues with his troublesome right middle finger. Toronto remains confident that the surgical procedure Sanchez underwent two weeks ago, in which he had part of his fingernail removed, should ultimately solve the issue that has sidelined him for most of this season.

But Sanchez lasted just one inning in his start Sunday against the Rays before that nail split horizontally, forcing him to leave the game. A combination of six relievers combined to finish the final eight innings after Sanchez exited in a 3-1 victory.

The Blue Jays, already shorthanded with J.A. Happ out with left elbow inflammation since April 18, recalled reliever Danny Barnes from Triple-A Buffalo on Monday to replenish the staff after what essentially became a bullpen game Sunday.

Osuna shuts the door

Toronto had Sanchez, the reigning American League ERA champion, for less than 24 hours after activating him from the DL before the right-hander had to go right back on it. Before Sunday, Sanchez hadn't pitched since April 14 because of blister issues on that right middle finger, and he underwent a minor procedure with a Kansas City dermatologist on April 18 to remove part of his fingernail. The club hoped removing part of the nail would alleviate pressure on those blisters until the nail itself split Sunday in Toronto.

"He's frustrated with it," said manager John Gibbons before the Blue Jays' matchup against the Yankees on Monday night. "But they seem to think once [the nail] is fine after the procedure they did, there shouldn't be any problems. Everybody thinks it shouldn't be very long."

Gibbons said the plan is to have Sanchez throw a few innings for the organization's Gulf Coast League club if he's feeling better by the time the team arrives in St. Petersburg later this week to play the Rays. Toronto will need to make a decision around that time regarding its rotation: The Blue Jays won't need a fifth starter again until May 9, but Gibbons ruled out the possibility of J.A. Happ returning by then.

In the meantime, Toronto still sits nine games under .500 and eight games back of first place in the AL East as it begins an important series in the Bronx. With two starters down and a bullpen coming off a heroic effort, the Jays could benefit from a lengthy quality start from Marco Estrada on Monday night.

"We've got the perfect guy to do it," Gibbons said of Estrada. "Hopefully he can give us seven like he usually does."

Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.