Jose Bautista hopes to return early this week

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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.

Sean Doolittle to miss more time with stress reaction in bridge of left foot

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Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will miss more time than expected as he is dealing with a stress reaction in the bridge of his left foot, MASN’s Mark Zuckerman reports. Doolittle started feeling soreness in his left foot two weeks ago and went on the 10-day disabled list on July 10, retroactive to the 7th.

According to Zuckerman, Doolittle’s injury is similar to a bone bruise. The lefty will stop his rehab program and will likely miss several more weeks than expected. The injury caused Doolittle to not participate in the All-Star Game, but his hope was to return shortly after the second half began.

Doolittle, 31, has 22 saves and a 1.45 ERA with a 49/3 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings for the Nationals this season. Kelvin Herrera will likely get the lion’s share of save chances while Doolittle is out.