As expected, the Detroit Tigers announced they will activate starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez from the 15-day disabled list. Sanchez will return to the mound tonight against the Red Sox, making his first start since April 26.
The Tigers have yet to make room for Sanchez on their 25-man roster, but have not announced a corresponding transaction. The move will be announced before tonight's game with the Red Sox. It is expected the team will send top prospect Robbie Ray back to Triple-A Toledo.
Sanchez was placed on the DL after a severe blister formed on the right middle finger in his last start, forcing his removal after tossing 2 2/3 hitless innings against the Twins. Thanks to weather and injury, the Tigers' number three starter has tossed only 23 innings, posting a 3.13 ERA. Sanchez has yet to record a win in his five starts, but is second amongst the Tigers' starters with a 9.4 K/9 ratio.
Ray has been extremely impressive in replacing Sanchez in a pair of spot starts. The 22-year-old rookie left-hander allowed just one run in 11 1/3 innings, good for an 0.79 ERA. Ray was the winning pitcher in his big league debut, holding the Astros to one run and five hits in 5 1/3 innings. He was even better in his second start, shutting out the Twins on four hits in six innings of work. The rookie earned a no-decision thanks to the bullpen coughing up a late lead.
Ray is a candidate to stick with the Tigers as a relief arm. But it's unlikely considering the bullpen has righted the ship of late with 15 scoreless innings on the current road trip, and Ray's status as the organization's number six starting pitcher. Odds are Ray will be needed in a starting role later in the summer when the Tigers begin to make up their numerous April postponements.