Bautista scratched due to stiff neck

Bautista scratched due to stiff neck

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jose Bautista was a late scratch from Wednesday afternoon's game against the Mets because of a stiff neck, while Ryan Goins was held out of the lineup because of flu-like symptoms.

The decision to sit Bautista was described as precautionary, and it's expected to be a minor issue that shouldn't keep him out of the lineup for very long. Goins' issue also isn't considered a big deal and he'll likely return in a couple of days.

Designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion remains day to day because of a strained oblique, but he's expected to take batting practice Friday morning. Encarnacion will need to repeat on-field batting practice at least a couple of times before he can get into a Minor League game.

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"He's getting better," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Encarnacion. "I told the trainers, 'Hey, when he's ready to do something, let me know.'"

Encarnacion has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game because of an abscessed tooth that had to be pulled early in Spring Training, and later he was bothered by the oblique issue. Toronto still says he will be ready for Opening Day, but Encarnacion will need to ramp up his workouts in the near future before that can happen.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for 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.