NEW YORK — The Toronto Blue Jays said they expect right-hander Josh Johnson to return to the rotation late this week.
Johnson was scratched from a start Friday night because of tightness in his right triceps. He had an MRI, and manager John Gibbons said team doctors don’t think the problem is serious, and the team said an MRI came back clean.
Gibbons said Johnson will throw on the side early this week and start a few days later “unless something changes.”
Johnson is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts since being acquired in an offseason trade with Miami.
The Blue Jays selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Justin Germano from Triple-A Buffalo before Saturday’s game. Toronto designated lefty Aaron Laffey for assignment on Friday night after he started for Johnson and walked five in 2.2 innings against the Yankees.
Nova, Cervelli on DL, Youkilis in lineup: The banged-up New York Yankees put pitcher Ivan Nova on the 15-day disabled list because of inflammation in his right triceps.
The Yankees made the move before Saturday’s game against Toronto. Catcher Francisco Cervelli had surgery on his broken right hand and went on the 15-day DL.
Kevin Youkilis returned to New York’s lineup after missing six games because of tightness in his lower back.
Sanchez suspended six games: Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Jonathan Sanchez has been suspended by Major League Baseball for six games and fined for hitting Allen Craig with a pitch in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday.
Sanchez gave up two home runs and a single to start the inning before hitting Craig in the shoulder. Umpire Tim Timmons immediately ejected Sanchez before tossing Pirates manager Clint Hurdle for arguing.
The suspension was announced Saturday, and Sanchez said he will appeal.
Closer Motte tests right arm: In St. Louis, Cardinals closer Jason Motte threw for the first time in five weeks Saturday, a step toward determining if he will need season-ending surgery on his right elbow.
The Cardinals set a May 1 deadline to decide whether he will require elbow-reconstruction surgery after an MRI in early April revealed a low-grade tear in a ligament. Motte said his 35-40 light tosses from about 45 feet before St. Louis’ game against Pittsburgh won’t provide the final determination.
“I felt great. I didn’t feel this, didn’t feel that,” said Motte, who was injured late in spring training. “I think the big thing is seeing how I feel (Sunday).”
Motte signed a two-year, $12 million contract during the offseason after earning 42 saves for St. Louis last year. He took over the roll late in 2011 and helped solidify a bullpen that struggled throughout the season before winning the World Series championship.
Motte used a regular pitching motion to see how the arm would react to pressure and tension. He said surgery might still be required but his body’s reaction to the tossing will help determine if the May 1 deadline can be delayed.
“If we can avoid surgery, that’s the ultimate best option,” he said. “But if it’s going to happen than it’s going to be what it’s going to be. If surgery was the only option, we would have done it March 23. We wouldn’t have waited all this time.”