Injured shoulder or not, Bautista can still rake

Injured shoulder or not, Bautista can still rake

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays continue to play the waiting game on Jose Bautista's injured right shoulder, but even though the 34-year-old hasn't been able to play the field in more than a month, he's still providing plenty of value with his bat.

Bautista missed two games earlier this week after receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder, but he returned in dramatic fashion Tuesday night. The veteran slugger had three doubles with a season-high five RBIs and played a pivotal role in the Blue Jays' 10-9 victory over the White Sox.

Josh Donaldson got most of the credit for the win after hitting a walk-off homer vs. Chicago's David Robertson, but the Blue Jays wouldn't have gotten to that point of the game without Bautista's earlier heroics.

"Jose had a big night, five RBIs, three doubles," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "You look at Donaldson and him back to back, that's what we envisioned."

The Blue Jays and Bautista remain cautiously optimistic that he'll be able to return to right field for the start of next week's Interleague series in Washington when the club will be without a DH spot.

Bautista took another small step towards achieving that goal earlier in the day on Tuesday when he took part in a light game of catch. He has yet to throw beyond 40 feet since straining his shoulder last month, but any type of activity at this point has to be considered a positive.

"Obviously the strength is not there but normally the throwing is what returns quickly," Bautista said. "We'll continue to do all the other things that are in the trainer's room along with the shot, and hopefully it all helps."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.