Blue Jays may push back Estrada's next turn

Righty is nursing a back issue and is tentatively set to face Tigers on Thursday

Blue Jays may push back Estrada's next turn

TORONTO -- Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada could have his next start pushed back, with Drew Hutchison starting in Estrada's regularly scheduled spot, manager John Gibbons said on Tuesday.

Estrada is tentatively scheduled to pitch Thursday's series opener against the Tigers, but he could start on Friday or Saturday instead.

The 33-year-old received multiple cortisone shots in his lower back on Monday morning, and the move would allow the right-hander to receive an extra amount of rest, while also potentially benefiting the others starters in the Blue Jays' rotation.

"Marco felt a little better today," Gibbons said. "We'll see and get a better idea how he feels tomorrow. We could always push him back to Friday, maybe Saturday. That wouldn't be a bad thing. That would give [J.A.] Happ an extra day anyways, and [Aaron] Sanchez an extra day, too.

"A lot will depend on [how he's feeling] tomorrow. Maybe it's farfetched to think he's going Thursday, but maybe Friday or Saturday, something like that."

Estrada started the season on the 15-day disabled list after injuring his back in Spring Training, and aggravated it in mid-June while swinging a bat in Interleague Play against the Phillies. The native of Senora, Mexico showed visible signs of discomfort in his latest start against the Indians, navigating his way through five innings of three-run ball in the Blue Jays' 9-6 win, but admitted he would not be able to pitch in the same amount of pain.

Estrada is 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 16 starts, holding opponents to a Major League low-.173 batting average.

Hutchison was recalled by the Blue Jays after the team's 2-1 loss in 19 innings to the Indians on Friday and would pitch in Estrada's spot unless he's called upon in relief prior to Thursday. The 25-year-old Hutchison has made one start and one relief appearance this season for Toronto, allowing four runs over 6 2/3 innings.

Bautista out of the boot
Jose Bautista is out of his walking boot, however a timetable for his return has not been set. The Blue Jays right fielder injured his left big toe against the Phillies on June 16, crashing into the right-field wall during the seventh inning, and he was placed on the 15-day DL the next day.

"That's progress," Gibbons said. "I'm not sure what the target date is. Hopefully we get him by the end of the month."

Bautista hit .230 with 12 home runs, 41 RBIs and an .815 OPS prior to landing on the DL. Ezequiel Carrera has received the majority of playing time in right field during Bautista's absence and had hit .284 with three home runs and nine RBIs entering Tuesday.

Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.