MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tigers likely have a couple weeks to go before they can return Anibal Sanchez to their rotation. His first throws Friday, however, gave them some encouragement.
Sanchez, out for the past couple weeks with a strained right pectoral muscle, made about 40 throws off flat ground -- essentially playing catch -- and said he had no discomfort.
"Definitely a really good sign that I don't feel any pain," Sanchez said. "Everything felt free. I let it go on a couple throws at the end and I didn't feel anything, either. Now I just continue to work and be back soon."
Sanchez will throw again between games of Saturday's day-night doubleheader -- again off flat ground, this time more throws.
Joakim Soria, who also has been on the disabled list for close to two weeks, is also scheduled to throw Saturday. He has been sidelined by a left oblique strain.
"He can be activated on Monday," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told MLB Network Radio. "I'm not sure he'll be activated right then, but he's very close."
Another reliever reporting improvement, Dombrowski said, is long man Luke Putkonen, out since mid-April with elbow inflammation.
"He's getting pretty close," Dombrowski said. "For him, we're pleasantly surprised. And really, in the back of my mind, I was not planning on him being back. That one's going well for us."
Putkonen could make a Minor League rehab appearance or two in the Tigers' system -- either at one of the upper levels as their seasons end, or for Class A West Michigan during the playoffs.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.