DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez's throwing hand has healed enough to start his throwing program. The Tigers right-hander, currently on the 15-day disabled list with a lacerated right middle finger, threw off a mound for the first time Tuesday afternoon.
Sanchez threw a full side session off the bullpen mound at Comerica Park and, by all appearances, came through fine.
Sanchez is eligible to be activated off the DL on Monday at the start of the Tigers' nine-game, three-city road trip. However, the club could wait if need be to activate him until they need a fifth starter again, which could be as late as May 20 in Cleveland.
Robbie Ray or another pitcher will start in Sanchez's place on Sunday, then the Tigers have an off-day next Thursday between Boston and Baltimore. The off-day means Detroit could go with a four-man rotation next week.
That gives the Tigers room for patience with Sanchez, who left his last start April 26 at Minnesota after a blister burst on his right middle finger. Though he was able to keep his arm fresh through light-tossing last week, Sanchez couldn't throw with purpose until the skin grew over the wound.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.