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Blue Jays hopeful Bautista will be able to return to right field next week

05/25/2015 06:39 EDT | Updated 05/25/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The Toronto Blue Jays are hopeful slugger Jose Bautista will be able to return to his usual position in right field for next week's interleague series against the Washington Nationals.

Bautista has been limited to designated hitter duty after injuring his throwing shoulder in a game April 21. He missed Sunday's contest against the Seattle Mariners after getting a cortisone shot and was not in the lineup for Monday night's series opener against the visiting Chicago White Sox.

"The progression wasn't going the way I expected or as quick as I expected," Bautista said during a pre-game availability. "I was looking for some relief, not only on the field for my work life but also regular life — having throbbing pain at night is not necessarily enjoyable.

"I was having to take pain medicine just to go to sleep and that was messing up my stomach. It was just time. I had been on the pain medicine for too long anyway so it was time to cut that off and try alternatives and this is the least invasive out of all the other alternatives that were left over."

Bautista hopes to return to the lineup as DH on Tuesday night. He's batting .215 with seven homers and 25 RBIs this season.

The 34-year-old Santo Domingo native described the progress as "very, very slow."

"I have inflammation inside the shoulder joint, which caused an impingement," he said. "The inflammation was just too slow to subside.

"The oral medicine didn't work. We were trying (with the cortisone shot) the least invasive but most aggressive next step."

Bautista started a light throwing program last week. He added he's not considering exploratory surgery because doctors told him that MRI exams and X-rays did not reveal anything besides inflammation.

"It's inflammation — it's there until it starts going down unless I irritate it again," he said. "I have no reason to believe that it will just stick around for the long term."

Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes returned to the lineup Monday after being activated from the 15-day disabled list. He hit .364 on a three-game rehab stint last week with triple-A Buffalo.

Reyes went on the disabled list with a fractured left rib April 28.

"It's good to see him," said Toronto manager John Gibbons. "Maybe he'll spark us — he's got that knack. But he feels good. He's ready to go."

Entering play Monday, the Blue Jays (20-26) were last in the American League East but only 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Tampa Bay Rays.

To make room for Reyes, Toronto optioned infielder Munenori Kawasaki to the Bisons.

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