Bautista activated from disabled list

Bautista activated from disabled list

Bautista activated from disabled list
BALTIMORE -- Jose Bautista made his long-awaited return to the Blue Jays lineup on Friday night after missing more than a month with an injured left wrist.

Bautista had been out since July 16 after suffering the injury during a swing in New York against the Yankees. His presence will provide a much-needed boost for a club that has managed to score just 2.8 runs per game since July 29, which ranks last in the Major Leagues.

"I missed it every single day, and it makes you appreciate what you have," Bautista said of his prolonged absence. "All I can do is [try] to help the team win games.

"I don't look at myself as 'that guy' who's going to make the team better or worse. We have a capable group and I just hope I can bring something to the table to contribute."

Bautista began a brief rehab assignment earlier this week in Florida. He appeared in one game with Class-A Dunedin and another simulated game at the club's Minor League complex before moving up to Double-A New Hampshire on Thursday night.

During his lone appearance with the Fisher Cats, Bautista made a strong statement by hitting a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, en route to five RBIs on the eve of his return to the big leagues.

Right-hander Chad Beck was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Bautista on the 25-man roster.

Bautista won't read too much into the immediate results because it came at a lower level of play, but it still has the potential to provide immediate proof that the wrist has improved to the point of being able to handle a return.

"Anytime you do something good at the plate and you help score some runs, you feel great," Bautista said. "I do realize that it's a different level of baseball, but it's not to say I was facing Little Leaguers, either. For the most part, I went down there just to see some pitches before I showed up here and to try to test out my wrist."

Bautista said he expects to be able to play on an everyday basis now that he is back, but manager John Farrell took a slightly more cautious approach. He said the team's decision on how often Bautista is in the lineup will be dictated by how the right fielder feels and responds to the increased activity.

It's possible Bautista will receive an occasional start at designated hitter. But because of the nature of the injury, that wouldn't provide much of a day off. That's because the affected wrist area is put under a lot more stress in the batter's box than it is in the field.

"I think it's prudent on our part, as the work ramps up, the everyday play ramps up, we've got to be a little bit conscious of that, where a down day might be more beneficial for himself rather than grinding it out every day," Farrell said.

"We've got to monitor the amount of early work he does in the cage, how much BP -- he might cut short his BP on days just so not to overdo it in terms of the number of swings on a given day. That's all part of a fluid situation, monitoring and getting his feedback."

Bautista entered play on Friday hitting .244 with 27 home runs and 65 RBIs in 90 games. Despite missing all of those games, Bautista still ranks in the top 10 in home runs for the American League and trails Chicago's Adam Dunn by nine for the league lead.