Bautista in a walking cast

@TEXT:
Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista falls to the ground after he slid awkwardly into third...

@TEXT: Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista falls to the ground after he slid awkwardly into third injuring his ankle, in the fifth inning of their American League MLB baseball game against the New York Yankees in Toronto July 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:53 PM ET

TORONTO - Jose Bautista is in a walking cast. He didn’t take batting practice Friday and there is uncertainty over when Toronto’s all-star third baseman/outfielder can come back from a sprained ankle.

That was the bad news Friday.

The good news is that manager John Farrell believes he could be back as soon as next Tuesday. “He’s one guy you’ve got to fight to get out of the lineup. He wants to be out there every day. He’s got to be smart about it. We don’t want to rush it,” said Farrell.

Bautista was helped off the field after he twisted his right ankle sliding into third base Thursday.

He wasn’t in the dressing room following the game and didn’t talk to reporters prior to Friday’s game, either. But he was seen walking to the trainer’s room with a slight limp.

“He’s no worse today (Friday) than last night. No additional stiffness or swelling. He’s been in a walking boot. We’ll continue to work on getting the swelling out of there. It’s a day to day evaluation. To put a time frame on his return; we’re not at that point,” said Farrell. “Optimistically we’re thinking Sunday but realistically Tuesday is the best case scenario.”

If he does come back it might be easier to play outfield because it’s more of a straight-line position without many lateral stops/starts. There’s also a question of how much it could affect his batting.

“We want to be sure the ankle is stable. It’s his push-off leg,” said Farrell. “That’s why it’s important for us to know he’s symptom free.”

Looking at him walking to the trainer’s room Friday night, he seemed anything but symptom free.


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