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Joakim Soria could return to the Tigers this week, Anibal Sanchez makes progress

Joakim Soria will throw a simulated game on Monday and Anibal Sanchez picks up a baseball for the first time in two weeks.

Leon Halip

DETROIT — The Tigers have been without Joakim Soria since he was placed on the disabled list Aug. 9 for a strained oblique. Soria is now taking gradual steps in an effort to get him back sooner rather than later, throwing 39 pitches from the mound Friday and feeling no pain.

It's been slow going, but with recent progress made, Soria could be returning to duty this week.

Soria has one last hurdle to overcome. He has a simulated game to throw on Monday and then a decision will be made whether he returns.

Once Soria throws on Monday, he would need a day to recover, so Tuesday would not be an option. The Tigers would discuss it with Soria to see if he would want another simulated game.

"Conceivably after this simulated, if it all goes well he'd be game-ready in a couple days," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said.

Anibal Sanchez went on the disabled list on Aug. 9 for a Grade 2 right pectoral major strain. He threw from flat ground on Aug. 25 but his progress was sidelined when he felt a needle-like pain trying to throw a changeup.

Sanchez hadn't picked up a baseball since then, until Sunday when he threw a light toss that included 30 pitches from a distance of 45 feet.

There still isn't a timetable for his return and the Tigers are being cautious so as not to take steps backward, but it's progress.

"It's a positive step," Ausmus said. "We'll see how he bounces back (Monday)."

Head athletic trainer Kevin Rand said that Sanchez's session on Sunday went well and he threw without pain. Rand said Sanchez would throw 45 balls from 60 feet on Monday.