Sanchez progressing, could start Sunday

Blue Jays face decision on Bolsinger, who turned in solid debut Tuesday

Sanchez progressing, could start Sunday

TORONTO -- Aaron Sanchez has cleared another hurdle in his rehab process from a cracked fingernail and could be in line to start this weekend when the Blue Jays face the Mariners at Rogers Centre.

"Sanchez threw today, he felt good," said manager John Gibbons prior to Tuesday's 6-0 loss to Cleveland. "I think he threw about 60 pitches, no pain at all, which is the key thing."

The combination of the right-hander's absence and J.A. Happ also being on the disabled list, has forced the Blue Jays to dip into their Minor League starting pitching depth on several occasions, most recently for Mike Bolsinger who made his Blue Jays debut on Tuesday night.

"If he shows up tomorrow and everything feels good, I would assume he'd pitch Sunday," Gibbons added.

This is Sanchez's second DL stint of the young season, both for issues with the same finger. After dealing with a blister on his middle finger earlier in the season, Sanchez underwent a procedure to remove a part of the fingernail. That same fingernail split in his first start back, forcing this second trip to the DL.

Bolsinger gave the Blue Jays 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday, allowing two runs on three hits with four walks and four strikeouts. The right-hander forced seven groundouts and leaned heavily on his curveball, which produced four whiffs and 11 called strikes in 32 pitches.

Bolsinger's season debut

"I felt good," Bolsinger said. "The second inning I kind of lost it a little bit, walked two guys and it cost me two runs. That's the thing I've been doing well in Triple-A ... not walking people, and when you do, it kind of seems to bite you in the butt. But overall I was throwing my off-speed well, and I felt like I had pretty good control of my fastball throughout the game."

Toronto will soon face a decision with Bolsinger, who is out of options and cannot be sent directly to the Minor Leagues without being exposed to waivers. Sanchez's health and the health of Toronto's roster as a whole will impact the situation with Bolsinger. He could be designated for assignment to make room for Sanchez return or even kept as a long-relief option, though he would be unavailable for the next few games after throwing 92 pitches.

"He was spinning the ball really well," said Cleveland center fielder Lonnie Chisenhall after the game. "His fastball was 88-90, but it was coming through the zone as a low-90s fastball, because he was really spinning it. Good curveball. There's a good percentage of curveball, sliders."

Keegan Matheson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.