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Jose Bautista returns to Blue Jays lineup against Brewers

Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista practices before the games against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre, Toronto August 14 2013.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Jose Bautista hopes to give less than 100 percent Sunday afternoon for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The slugging outfielder will mark his return to the starting lineup in Toronto's Canada Day affair against the Milwaukee Brewers but it will be as the designated hitter.

Bautista's left hamstring is still not feeling completely healthy, but he believes he can still contribute with the bat as long as he tries not to push it too much.

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"Just trying to be cautious, knowing I'm DH-ing and not playing the field," Bautista said before the game. "I'm going to get loose as much as I can, but I'm not going to try to push it in batting practice and find out how fast I can run and risk anything.

"Just going to let the hamstring continue to do what it's doing and healing and hopefully if I get it loose and maintaining the strength with the exercises I'm doing inside that's good enough for me to run the bases at a good rate of speed."

Bautista agreed it will go against his nature not being able to push things to the maximum.

"Hopefully we can come out and score a couple of runs early and I don't have to be thinking, 'Okay, it's a close game, I may need to push it a little more than normal.' That'd be the ideal situation.

"Hopefully we are the ones who score four or five runs early, and not them. That would be a lot more relaxing for me on the bases."

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