If Sanchez is able to return with the minimum 15-day stay on the DL, it'll look much better for Ausmus. At this point, all signs point to that.
"The rawness kind of seems to have gone away," Ausmus said. "It's just a matter now of building up the skin onto that finger where it can take the friction of the baseball coming off of it."
It's possible, Ausmus said, that Sanchez will throw on Wednesday.
The way the Tigers schedule plays out, even a minimum stay will require two starts from a fill-in. Detroit can roll with a four-man rotation through Monday. With Sanchez not eligible to come off the DL until a week later, the Tigers will need a fifth starter for May 6 and 11.
The best candidate to get the call, left-handed prospect Robbie Ray, delivered five shutout innings Monday for Triple-A Toledo to stretch his scoreless streak to 13 1/3 innings over his last two starts. He's 3-2 with a 1.59 ERA in five starts for the Mud Hens, allowing 27 hits over 28 1/3 innings with five walks and 21 strikeouts.
The Tigers would need to open a spot for Ray on the 40-man roster.
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.