Last week, it looked like Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista might be headed to the 15-day disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He has now missed five straight games, but the news Sunday was good …
Bautista told Shi Davidi of Toronto’s Sportsnet that he is aiming to return to action during the Blue Jays’ upcoming three-game series in Boston. He’s feeling gradual improvement with his right shoulder, which he aggravated last Tuesday night while trying to gun down Delmon Young at first base from right field.
Michael Saunders is in right field and Kevin Pillar is in center for Sunday’s series finale against the Rays.
Bautista had tallied four home runs and 10 RBI in 14 games before this extended absence.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the Blue Jays are expected to activate Michael Saunders from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday. The Jays could have activated him for Friday night’s game, but as Chisholm notes, with the left-handed Drew Smily pitching for the Rays, it didn’t make too much sense to put the left-handed Saunders in the lineup.
Saunders tore the meniscus in his left knee in late February. He underwent surgery to remove the entire meniscus, which actually sped up his recovery process. There was some thought at the time that Saunders would be ready for Opening Day, but he’s only a few weeks late which is better than missing most or all of the season.
The Jays acquired Saunders in a December trade with the Mariners, sending pitcher J.A. Happ to Seattle. Saunders has battled many injuries over his career and owns a meager .685 OPS in 1,919 plate appearances spread out over parts of six seasons.
Watch as Blue Jays left fielder Kevin Pillar climbs the wall to rob Tim Beckham of a home run …
Pillar also went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI and two runs scored as the Jays topped the Rays 12-7. He’s been an excellent early-season fill-in for Michael Saunders, who is still recovering from February knee surgery.