Jose Bautista is unlikely to return from the disabled list when he’s first eligible on Wednesday, but he’s making progress.
Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Bautista swung a bat today for the first time since injuring his left wrist on a swing on July 16. The 31-year-old slugger went through a series of dry swings and swings off a tee with a fungo bat. The next step involves doing the same with a regular bat before taking flip throws and then batting practice. Barring any setbacks, a return late next week appears possible.
Bautista is hitting .244/.360/.534 with 27 home runs, 65 RBI and an .894 OPS in 90 games played this year. He’s currently tied for fifth in the majors in home runs, despite his recent absence. Rookie outfielder Anthony Gose will likely be sent back down to Triple-A Las Vegas when Bautista is ready to return.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons is slated to remain with the club through the end of the 2018 season, general manager Ross Atkins told reporters on Friday. The news follows a report from Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, who cast some doubt on the veteran skipper’s future with the team several weeks ago when he said the Jays “seem destined to move on from John Gibbons.”
While it appears Gibbons’ job is safe for the next six weeks, that’s not saying much — especially as the club currently sits 30.5 games back of the division lead and will prepare to continue restructuring a sub-.500 roster come fall. As recently as last week, he hinted that he wasn’t feeling particularly eager to oversee a full rebuild. Per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun:
Truthfully, a full breakdown, you know I have to admit I don’t know if I’m interested in that,” Gibbons said prior to Friday’s 7-0 blowout loss to the Tampa Rays. “But we’ll see. I’m still here. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.
Over 11 cumulative seasons from 2004-2008 and 2013-2018, the 56-year-old manager has guided the team to a winning record just five times, most recently when they earned back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016. He still has another year remaining on his contract, which was recently lengthened to include the 2018 and 2019 seasons and includes an option for 2020 as well.
Atkins also revealed that the club is prepared to reevaluate Gibbons’ role during the offseason, though it’s not yet clear whether they intend to keep him on for the next two years as originally planned, reassign him to another role within the organization, or terminate his agreement with the team altogether.