NEWS
08/25/2016 14:08 EDT | Updated 08/26/2017 01:12 EDT

Jays activate slugger Bautista off disabled list, option Goins to Buffalo

TORONTO — Jose Bautista isn't concerning himself with his personal stats this late into the season.

He has bigger goals in mind.

The Blue Jays slugger, who was reinstated from the disabled list on Thursday before the finale of Toronto's three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels, says he's focusing on a post-season push from his first-place team.

"You win games by scoring more runs than the other team and my on-base percentage, RBI's and runs scored per games played are not bad at all and I just want to finish off strong," Bautista said in the dugout before Thursday's game.

"We're in first place. I don't think I'm going to focus a lot of my individual situation. If we continue to win and I am playing every day at the end of the year my numbers are going to be fine."

Bautista sprained his left knee when he stumbled in the outfield during an Aug. 9 loss to Tampa Bay, his second injury this season while fielding his position.

He hurt his left big toe jumping into the wall in Philadelphia on June 16 — an injury he described as "something that will linger longer than the knee (injury)."

In total, Bautista has played 80 of the Blue Jays' 126 games this season.

Though he's back with the team now, he's still not 100 per cent after his latest injury.

"It's a little sore and stiff but I think that's normal, you just have to play through that," Bautista said. "I think if I can be here and contribute it's better than being down there and wanting to come back at 100 per cent when I'm 90 or 95 per cent, whatever it might be. It changes from day to day.

"But I can play in major league games and hopefully I can make an impact."

Bautista has a .222 batting average this season with 15 home runs and 48 runs batted in. He has 258 homers and 680 RBI's in nine seasons with the Blue Jays.

He was slated to bat leadoff and serve as the designated hitter in the series finale against the Angels.

"I'm going to go by how I feel and I'll tell (manager John Gibbons) how I feel," Bautista said. "If he chooses to DH me that's going to be his choice but if I feel good enough to play defence on a daily basis I'll also let him know.

"Realistically, after taking two weeks off, DH-ing the first few days just to ease back into it, since there wasn't a rehab stint, seems smart."

Bautista's injury wasn't the only one the Blue Jays have had to deal with lately.

Centre-fielder Kevin Pillar also missed two weeks with a thumb injury, second baseman Devon Travis (right ring finger) sat out for the third straight day Thursday with a knuckle injury, and all-star outfielder Michael Saunders (hamstring) got the night off.

Toronto has clung to first place in the AL East despite Bautista's absence. The Blue Jays opened play Thursday with a half-game lead on Boston after the Red Sox lost to Tampa Bay earlier in the day.

"I wouldn't expect less from this group," Bautista said. "They're resilient, they're tremendous ball players and teammates and they've done what they need to do. They've stepped up."

The Blue Jays optioned infielder Ryan Goins to triple-A Buffalo to make room for Bautista on the roster.