Clay Buchholz could resume throwing this weekend

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While Jon Lester is sidelined indefinitely with a lat strain, there’s at least some encouraging news to pass along about Clay Buchholz.

According to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, Buchholz hopes to resume a throwing program as soon as Sunday. The 26-year-old right-hander received a cortisone shot in his back when he saw Dr. Craig Brigham in North Carolina on Wednesday.

Brigham ruled out the worst-case scenario of structural damage and advised Buchholz that he can treat the injury with rest and rehabilitation.

 “I got the injection and it’s going to take some time to heal,” Buchholz said. “Then you’ve got to work on some core exercises to get that healthy and strong again. As soon as I can’t feel it, he said I can go from there. He said there was no case of me hurting myself long term if I had to pitch through it. … It was definitely good news. Structurally, no damage. That was my thoughts going in. I thought they were going to say something bad. I came out of there in a lot better spirits than I went in, so that was good.”

Buchholz hasn’t pitched since leaving a start against the Rays on June 16 with a strained lower back. He is 6-3 with a 3.48 ERA and 60/31 K/BB ratio over 14 starts this season.

Blue Jays place Aaron Sanchez on 10-day disabled list

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The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.

Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.

Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.