Head trainer George Poulis said Tuesday that Bautista will play 3-5 innings in the field in his first game since suffering a turf toe injury June 16 at Philadelphia. He’ll travel to triple-A Buffalo on Thursday and play three games with the Bisons over the weekend before he gets re-assessed.
"If all’s good, you’ll probably see him Monday I would guess," said manager John Gibbons.
Turf toe is essentially a hyperextension of the big toe and causes extreme pain because of the leverage the body places on the area. Bautista started hitting last week and has recently started running pain-free.
The rehab assignment is the next step in his progression.
"We’ll see how he’s going each day. We really don’t want to set a date, ‘You’re coming back on this day,’" said Poulis. "If a guy feels like he needs an extra day then we’ll just give it to him. But he’s doing great, we’re very optimistic that he’s very close."
Gibbons said that once Bautista returns he’ll see some action at designated hitter as well as right field.
MORALES DECISION LOOMS: The 30th and final day of Franklin Morales’ rehab assignment is Wednesday and with the left-hander seemingly recovered from his shoulder fatigue at Buffalo, the Blue Jays will have to make a decision on him Thursday.
John Gibbons said Tuesday that "there has been nothing decided yet," but that Morales "has been pretty good down there for the most part."
In eight games with the Bisons, Morales has allowed one run on four hits and four walks in eight innings over eight appearances. As things stand now, there’s no obvious roster spot for him and he has enough service time to refuse a minor-league assignment.
Health isn’t going to be an issue.
"He’s doing very well, we’re very optimistic that he’s going to be fine and he’s feeling fine now," said George Poulis. "We’re just waiting for that (rehab) time to end and the organization will make a decision at that point."
SHORT HOPS: Marco Estrada threw a bullpen Tuesday and is on track to return from the disabled list to start Friday at home against the Seattle Mariners. "He’s ready to go and everything is good," said George Poulis, who added that in order to avoid a recurrence, "He’s going to avoid anything that causes him any kind of discomfort. In between the starts, he won’t go above and beyond and try something new. He’ll just stick to his regular, regimented program that helps keep his core solid and stabilized." … J.A. Happ did some throwing Tuesday after taking a line drive off his left forearm Sunday and should be fine to start this Sunday against the Mariners. "J.A. Happ is sore but he’s feeling much better," said Poulis. "We expect him to make his next start. He’s bruised up, no doubt, but he got lucky." … Outfielder Ezequiel Carrera sat a second straight game with irritation in his left Achilles tendon, but is nearing a return to action. "Don’t expect that to be anything real long-term," said Poulis.