Jay could return by early September

Padres outfielder taking swings for first time since breaking forearm

Jay could return by early September

SAN DIEGO -- Injured Padres outfielder Jon Jay has begun taking swings off a tee and could return by the first week of September, manager Andy Green said Sunday.

Jay, who broke his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch in June, would likely need to play in a few rehab games before joining the Padres.

Since having his cast removed earlier this month, Jay has been able to participate in all baseball activities, except for swinging. (He's been running and taking fly balls on a routine basis.)

"The bone's healed," Green said. "Now it's just a matter of mobility in the wrist, from being in the cast, and how long it takes to get that back. He's taking swings now, so he's getting closer every day."

When Jay returns, it won't be in the same role he had early in the season. For most of the past month, the Padres have been starting three rookies -- Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski and Jabari Blash -- in the outfield.

Jay, who was batting .296 and leading the league with 24 doubles at the time of his injury, would likely rotate to all three outfield spots, giving the young Padres trio some time off.

In the meantime, the Padres outfielders have raved about the impact Jay has made as a teacher, even during his stint on the DL.

"A guy like Jon in the clubhouse is huge, especially for an all-rookie outfield," Jankowski said. "He's on the top step every inning, watching us. That's huge. When we come in, he's not afraid to tell us if we did something wrong or give us a high-five if we did something right. He's a great mentor."

Added Blash: "Jon's definitely been a big help in getting information and in learning. He's [like an extra coach]. He's a great dude, one of the best guys I've played with, as far as being a guide. He has a lot of wisdom, and he's played the game a long time."

Other injury updates

• Blash is nursing a jammed right ring finger, which is affecting his swing. He hasn't batted since Tuesday in Tampa Bay, though he entered as a defensive replacement in Thursday's win. If Blash hasn't fully healed in the next day or two, the Padres will consider a DL stint.

• Rookie right-hander Cesar Vargas, who has been out since May with a flexor strain in his right elbow, is playing catch. Green said it's doubtful Vargas pitches again for the Padres this season, but he's a prime candidate to throw in winter ball.

• The Padres have not made a decision regarding a rehab stint for Tyson Ross, who impressed during a live-batting practice session on Saturday. It's possible Ross could face hitters once more before he enters live game action in the Minor Leagues.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.