The Tigers starting rotation has been slammed with its first ailment of 2013 as Anibal Sanchez will miss Sunday’s start against the Indians because of a stiff shoulder.

Filling in for Sanchez will be Jose Alvarez, a left-hander, who has been pitching well at Triple A Toledo.

Jose Ortega, the young right-handed reliever, will return to Triple A Toledo as the Tigers clear space for Alvarez on the 25-man roster. Octavio Dotel was moved to the 60-day disabled list to make 40-man roster room for Alvarez, who is 5-4 for the Mud Hens, with a 2.42 ERA.

Sanchez’s irritation is believed to be minor and should respond to a single stint of 10-day rest, the Tigers said ahead of Saturday’s game against the Indians at Comerica Park.

“He’ll skip one start and he should be ready for the next one,” said Kevin Rand, the Tigers’ head trainer. “After that last start (10-1 victory Tuesday over the Rays), he had a little more fatigue than usual. He just didn’t recover as well.”

Sanchez is 6-4 for the Tigers and has pitched laudably in a starting rotation that is considered in some corners as the best in baseball. He has a 2.65 ERA.

Alvarez, 24, was signed during the offseason as a minor-league free agent. He had earlier pitched in the Red Sox and Marlins farm systems.

In his 12 starts for the Mud Hens, Alvarez has allowed 60 hits in 741⁄3 innings. He has struck out 76 and walked 15, and has a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning) of 1.009.