Travis expected to return to lineup today

Bautista back in right field; Saunders feeling better

Travis expected to return to lineup today

TORONTO -- Devon Travis is expected to return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Saturday, manager John Gibbons said prior to the team's series opener against the Twins on Friday.

Travis has been held out of the lineup for the past four games with a sprained tendon in his right ring finger. Toronto's starting second baseman went through hitting exercises on Friday for the first time since the injury, and he also took part in an onfield workout prior to the game.

"I would bank on seeing him tomorrow," Gibbons said.

Travis first felt discomfort in his hand during last week's series against the Yankees and received a cortisone shot on Sunday after the Blue Jays returned home from their six-game road trip.

The 25-year-old Travis said he felt no pain after swinging the bat on Friday.

"I feel really good," Travis said. "I could have played today, I think it's just the smart move to give me the extra day and be ready to go tomorrow."

Travis is hitting .300 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs in his second Major League season. In Travis' absence, Darwin Barney made his fourth consecutive start at second base on Friday.

"Playing is what you need to be doing and want to be doing," Travis said. "Barney is a great player, though, so I understand that. Even when I'm out of the lineup, our chances are just as good, so I've kind of just been a bit of a cheerleader."

Bautista returns to right
After starting at designated hitter in his return from the disabled list on Thursday, Jose Bautista got the start in right field on Friday. Gibbons expects to give Bautista regular turns at DH, but he also wanted to get Edwin Encarnacion a day off his feet. Encarnacion started at DH on Friday, while Justin Smoak started at first base.

"He's good to go," Gibbons said about putting Bautista in the outfield.

Saunders improving
Outfielder Michael Saunders missed his second consecutive game with a sore left hamstring. While Gibbons says the All-Star left fielder "feels better," he remains day to day.

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