There is a good chance that Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista will be able to return to the lineup in a pinch-hitting capacity as early as this weekend.
The all-star right fielder has been out of the lineup since injuring his left hamstring on Sunday in Cincinnati in a game against the Reds.
Originally assessed as a “mild” strain by the Blue Jays, Bautista told reporters on Thursday that the leg feels better, although he is still taking things very easy.
After testing the leg on Monday, Bautista said the decision was made to shut off all activity until Saturday when he will attempt to do some running to gauge how much progress he has made.
If all goes well Bautista said he sees no reason why he couldn’t at least start being utilized as a pinch-hitter if the need arises.
It has not been easy remaining patient, Bautista said.
“It’s tough because I don’t want to handcuff the team by not being available,” he said. “But at the same time I don’ t think I need the extra week to come back. And after two weeks you normally would have to get some at-bats somewhere [in the minors].
“I just don’t want to go through that process because I don’t feel like I need it.”
The Blue Jays will play the first of a four-game series Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre.
The American League East-leading Blue Jays received more good news on the injury front with Steve Tolleson proclaiming himself pretty much cured after a bout with blurry vision.
Tolleson was unable to play in Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees because of the issue.
He said a cornea specialist he saw on Thursday morning told him he had suffered an allergic reaction after wearing contact lenses.
The utility infielder said he will no longer be wearing contacts and will instead have to start wearing glasses when he plays.
“He looks too smart to be playing the game now,” cracked Gibbons.