Red Sox to designate Marlon Byrd for assignment

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Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that the Red Sox will designate outfielder Marlon Byrd for assignment in order to clear a roster spot for right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will make his first major league start since Tommy John surgery this afternoon against the Nationals. Byrd was informed of the decision following last night’s game.

Byrd was acquired from the Cubs for Michael Bowden and Hunter Cervenka after Jacoby Ellsbury went down with a subluxed right shoulder in April. The 34-year-old began his Red Sox tenure with a six-game hitting streak, but his production tailed off from there and his playing time has suffered recently due to the emergence of Daniel Nava and Scott Podsednik and the return of Darnell McDonald.

Byrd batted .270/.286/.320 with one homer, two doubles and a .606 OPS over 105 plate appearances with Boston and is hitting just .210/.243/.245 overall this season. The Cubs are still on the hook for all but $400,000 of his $6.5 million salary for 2012.

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.