TORONTO - Blue Jays starter Aaron Sanchez said Friday that he'll soon begin throwing off the mound as he continues his recovery from an injury to his right middle finger.

The 24-year-old right-hander, who has spent the last four weeks on the disabled list, has made only five starts this season due to fingernail and blister issues. Sanchez did not have a firm timeline for his return but said a long toss session this week went well.

“I'm moving on to the next part in rehab, which is getting off the mound,” Sanchez said. “That'll happen soon and we'll have a better idea then too. The biggest thing is what I do in practice and what I do in the game is two different things.

“So it's trying to mimic that as much as we can and make sure that the skin around that area is strong enough to withhold what I'm doing.”

Sanchez held a brief media availability Friday before attending a lunch-hour pep rally for young students at a downtown school. The Blue Jays were set to continue their homestand Friday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox.

In addition to the blister problem, Sanchez underwent a surgical procedure in mid-April to remove part of the nail on the finger. He returned from the DL two weeks later but the nail split just five pitches into the start and he left the game after one inning.

Another DL stint followed and he returned to the mound May 14, but once again it appeared that his finger started bleeding early in the game. Sanchez made one more start before returning to the DL.

There still appeared to be some discolouration near the tip of Sanchez's injured finger Friday.

Sanchez posted a sparkling 15-2 record last year in his first full big-league season. He finished tied for seventh in American League Cy Young Award voting and led all AL starters with a 3.00 earned-run average.

He's 0-1 this season with a 3.33 ERA.

Once Sanchez gets the green light to resume regular pitching, he'll likely be given a rehab stint in the minor leagues. The injury report on the Blue Jays' website said a late June return was possible.

Also Friday, the Blue Jays reinstated outfielder Steve Pearce from the DL and placed utilityman Chris Coghlan on the 10-day DL with a left wrist contusion.