Tigers pitcher Anibal Sanchez nearing a return

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Anibal Sanchez of the Detroit Tigers threw about 50 pitches in a simulated game Sunday and could be activated this week.

The right-hander went on the disabled list Aug. 9 with a strained right chest muscle. The simulated game came before the before the Tigers played the Royals in Kansas City.

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus says if Sanchez feels good the next few days ''my guess is he'd be activated Wednesday or Thursday.'' Sanchez is 8-5 with a 3.46 ERA in 21 starts, and Ausmus says he could be used in relief.

Catcher Alex Avila has not played since Sept. 14 because of a concussion but could be available Monday if he feels fine and passes concussion clearance tests. Avila is hitting .223 with 11 home runs and 47 RBIs.

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