TORONTO – Jose Bautista hasn’t resumed throwing yet, so the Toronto Blue Jays aren’t counting on him to return to right field for at least another week.
The Blue Jays plan to use Bautista as the designated hitter against the New York Yankees Monday through Wednesday then assess his sore right shoulder before the Boston Red Sox arrive for a weekend series.
“He’s still quite sore. We’re going to re-evaluate it here at the end of the (Yankees) series,” GM Alex Anthopoulos said.
Once Bautista resumes throwing, he’ll have to build up strength to the point that he’s able to make throws from right field. It’s not yet clear how long that process will take, but the Blue Jays aren’t counting on his defence during their current six-game homestand.
Bautista injured his shoulder when he attempted to throw out Baltimore Orioles outfielder Delmon Young at first base in the midst of a heated game at Rogers Centre on April 21. The injury puts Edwin Encarnacion at first base every day and relegates Justin Smoak to the bench.
SAUNDERS’ KNEE DRAINED
Michael Saunders was held out of the Blue Jays’ starting lineup Monday after having fluid drained from his left knee. The 28-year-old, who had 60 percent of his left meniscus removed February, has been dealing with some knee soreness since returning to the lineup April 25.
With Bautista and Saunders sidelined, Danny Valencia and Ezequiel Carrera started in the outfield corners Monday, though Saunders was available to contribute off of the bench. He has managed just six singles and five walks in his first 32 trips to the plate with Toronto.
MRI COMING UP FOR REYES
The Blue Jays tentatively plan to give Jose Reyes an MRI Sunday or Monday to check on the progress of his injured left rib. By that point it will have been four weeks since he initially cracked the rib on a check swing in Baltimore, so the Blue Jays are hopeful it will have improved.
“If it has and he feels good, then we’ll get him going,” Anthopoulos said. “We just want to give it that much more time.”
Reyes hasn’t hit from the left side since April 16, when he left a game against the Tampa Bay Rays after just one plate appearance. He returned to the lineup five days later batting exclusively right-handed, but the injury persisted and the team placed him on the disabled list with a cracked left rib April 28. The Blue Jays are hopeful that weeks without swinging left-handed will have allowed Reyes to heal. Depending on how well the injury has progressed, a rehab stint could be required.
In the meantime, Ryan Goins continues offering above-average defence and below-average offence at shortstop while Devon Travis continues leading off.
NAVARRO NEEDS TIME
While Dioner Navarro is technically eligible to return from the disabled list during Toronto’s current homestand, it sounds as though the switch-hitting catcher needs more time to recover from a hamstring strain. He made some progress initially before experiencing renewed tightness which leaves the Blue Jays without a clear sense of when to expect him back.
The Blue Jays placed Navarro on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring April 23. Since then he’s been rehabbing in Florida where he has access to Toronto’s spring training facility.