Morales close to return from hamstring injury

Blue Jays waiting on Donaldson, Tulowitzki and Happ

Morales close to return from hamstring injury

TORONTO -- The first question posed to manager John Gibbons during his media availability prior to Friday night's game against the Mariners was pretty telling about Toronto's current state of affairs: "So, who's hurt today?"

Such is life for a team that currently has 10 players on the 10-day and 60-day disabled lists. Included in that group is a core group of players that includes Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Russell Martin, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez and Francisco Liriano who earn approximately $85 million in salary this season.

The good news is that at least a couple of those players are getting closer to a return. Tulowitzki will officially begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin as he works his way back from a right hamstring injury that has kept him out since April 21. Kendrys Morales, who has been day to day with a left hamstring issue, could return to the starting lineup this weekend.

"There's a chance Morales could play tomorrow," Gibbons said Friday afternoon before pausing and hedging his bet as part of an explanation on why Jose Bautista received another start at DH. "Slim chance, and if he did, you don't go Bautista night, day game [both in right field] -- take advantage of it while he's out."

The news is not quite as positive on Donaldson despite Gibbons sticking to the club's official stance that, "He says he feels better." Toronto has been saying that for a while but Donaldson is still without a definitive timetable for an absence that is a month long.

There's no questioning the work ethic or desire. Everyone involved knows how badly Donaldson wants to get back into the lineup, but the calf clearly has been somewhat slow to respond to treatment. Donaldson continues to take batting practice and go through light fielding drills at Toronto's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., but is still awaiting word on when that work will be extended to a rehab assignment and imminent return to the big league roster.

"It's killing him and we miss him, there's no doubt about that," Gibbons said of Donaldson's absence.

Happ K's Trumbo swinging

Happ finally appears to be turning a corner with a left elbow injury that has kept him out for almost a month. He continues to throw off flat ground and recently was extended to 120 feet. Toronto's goal is to have him throw off a mound next, but because he'll need at least a rehab start or two after that, Happ would still appear to be a few weeks away.

The expectation is that Sanchez is one person the Blue Jays won't have to worry about anymore. He is set to come off the disabled list in time to make Sunday's start against the Mariners, following a simulated game and a bullpen session this week.

"I wasn't even thinking about his fingernail anymore," Gibbons said. "The area that they cut, that's healed up. Where it broke that last time, that's healed up. ... He's good to go. We hope."

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.