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.