Anibal nearing return, set to throw sim game

Anibal nearing return, set to throw sim game

KANSAS CITY -- Anibal Sanchez is now potentially one step away from rejoining the Tigers' pitching staff for the final week of the regular season. The right-hander, out since early August with a right pectoral muscle strain, is scheduled to throw a simulated game on Sunday morning at Kauffman Stadium.

"If that goes well," manager Brad Ausmus said, "then we have to make a decision on when he comes back."

Ausmus wasn't giving an idea when, or in what role -- starting or relieving. That, too, might be part of the decision process. Getting this far, though, has Sanchez upbeat.

While most of the Tigers enjoyed their final off-day of the regular season on Thursday, Sanchez spent the day at Kauffman Stadium, where he threw 40 pitches in the bullpen, watched by Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones.

It was his third session off a mound, but Sanchez's first extended session. He threw all of his pitches and felt fine afterwards.

If Sanchez returns in the rotation, it might be a one-time deal. He'd have one start before the end of the regular season, leaving the Tigers to decide a potential postseason rotation having seen Sanchez pitch in only one game over the last seven weeks.

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.