DETROIT -- Anibal Sanchez insisted he's not worried about missing his turn in the Detroit rotation, saying he simply needs some rest.
The Tigers are skipping Sanchez's next start and plan to pitch Jose Alvarez in his place Sunday against the Cleveland Indians.
Sanchez said there's tightness in the back of his right shoulder.
"It happened one time last year in the first inning of spring training," he said. "I just missed one start."
To make room for Alvarez on the roster, Detroit sent right-handed pitcher Jose Ortega to Triple-A Toledo. Ortega was 0-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 games for the Tigers, striking out 10 and walking six over 11 2/3 innings.
"Ortega really didn't do anything wrong at all," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said after a 6-4 win over Cleveland on Saturday.
Tigers trainer Kevin Rand said it was prudent to sit Sanchez because he didn't recover well from his previous outing and it's early in the season.
"I just need to take care of it," he said. "It's early."
The right-hander won his last start on June 4 against Tampa Bay, giving up one run in seven innings. He is 6-4 with a 2.65 ERA in 12 starts, which includes a one-hitter May 24 against Minnesota and a 17-strikeout performance a month earlier against Atlanta.
Sanchez signed an $80 million, five-year contract in the offseason with the Tigers. The deal could be worth $91 million if the Tigers exercise an option for a sixth season.
Alvarez is set to make his major league debut against Cleveland in the series finale. The left-hander from Venezuela is 5-4 with a 2.42 ERA and an International League-high 76 strikeouts in 12 starts for Toledo.
"He's been about the best pitcher in the International League," Leyland said.