Leyland says Sanchez will return Saturday in Cleveland

Leyland says Sanchez will return Saturday in Cleveland

TORONTO -- Not only will the comebacker Anibal Sanchez took off his left leg Monday night for Class A Lakeland not cost him any time off the mound, it apparently won't keep him from rejoining the big club this weekend. Manager Jim Leyland said Tuesday that Sanchez is scheduled to return from the 15-day disabled list to take his spot in the rotation on Saturday in Cleveland.

Sanchez was supposed to throw about 60 pitches Monday in a rehab appearance for Lakeland, but pitched just 1 2/3 scoreless innings before the line drive knocked him out of the game. Sanchez had significant swelling when it happened, but no structural damage.

"I don't know exactly the total number of pitches he threw, but it wasn't near as many as we would've liked," Leyland said. "But he felt great [pitching-wise] and we expect him to start on Saturday."

As long as Sanchez felt fine, another rehab start was not a serious consideration.

"We're just going to have to watch the pitches," Leyland said.

Sanchez went on the DL two and a half weeks ago with a right shoulder strain. Jose Alvarez has filled his spot the last three turns through the rotation, including Monday's loss to the Blue Jays, but might not necessarily be sent back to Triple-A Toledo on Saturday to make room.

Alvarez's fate could depend on whether the Tigers need a spot starter for Rick Porcello, who is appealing a six-game suspension he received for hitting Ben Zobrist with a pitch on Sunday. Porcello's next scheduled start is Friday in Cleveland, followed by a start next Wednesday against the White Sox at Comerica Park.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.