Bautista eyes return Tuesday

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista falls to the ground after he slid awkwardly into third injuring his...

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista falls to the ground after he slid awkwardly into third injuring his ankle, during a game against the New York Yankees on July 14, 2011. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:57 PM ET

TORONTO - Jose Bautista shall return.

I think Ill play Tuesday, thats the date ... probably, Bautista said, speaking to the media Saturday for the first time since leaving the field after spraining his right ankle on Thursday. Well see how it feels when I wake up.

The Jays finish their four-game series against the Yanks Sunday, have Monday off, and then open a series against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.

The good news for Bautista from manager John Farrell is that he did not need an MRI.

Optimistically, were thinking Sunday, if not, it might be Tuesday, Farrell told reporters Saturday morning.

Bautista twisted his ankle catching a spike sliding into third base. He also appeared to jam his ankle hitting the first-base bag. Its the same ankle that hit a wall at Chase Field when he slid to make a highlight catch off Brian McCann in the all-star game.

Farrell said Bautista had no additional swelling or stiffness.

Hes been wearing a walking boot, Farrell said. Well continue to work getting the swelling out.

ON THE FARM

Farrell also said Bautistas injury would not cause the Jays to rush third baseman Brett Lawrie, the organizations top prospect.

Lawrie has recovered from a broken bone in his left hand and is on a rehab assignment at class-A Dunedin.

He went 1-for-3 on Thursday in a 6-2 loss to Bradenton, and was hitless Friday in an 8-1 loss to Bradenton.

Lawrie is scheduled to return to triple-A Las Vegas next week, barring any setbacks.

NUMBERS

Yunel Escobar has now reached safely in 21 consecutive games ... The Saturday crowd of 45,606 was the largest non-opening day crowd since July 22, 2006, when Chien-Ming Wang pitched six innings as the Yankees beat the Jays 5-4. Scott Downs took the loss as Justin Speier walked Derek Jeter with the bases loaded to force in the winning run ... Yanks are a major-league best 27-5 in day games and 19-9 against left-handed starters.


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