CLEVELAND -- Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is nearing a return from his injured left knee and is expected to begin a rehab assignment at some point this upcoming week.
Bautista is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday. It's not immediately clear if he'll be ready by then, but it should not be too much longer before the six-time All-Star makes his return.
The 35-year-old has been out since Aug. 9 after he twisted his knee while attempting to make a throw from right field. He is working out at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla.
This is the second time this season that Bautista has been on the 15-day DL. He previously missed six weeks with turf toe. He is batting .222 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs in 80 games this season.
Third baseman Josh Donaldson made his return to the lineup on Sunday afternoon after missing the previous two games because of a jammed right thumb. Donaldson sustained the injury while grounding out during Toronto's victory over the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon.
The injury was never considered serious, but the club wanted to take a cautious approach to avoid any potential setbacks. He was originally expected to return Saturday night, but the club opted to give him an extra day of rest.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. 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.