Bautista back at third with healthy ankle

Bautista back at third with healthy ankle

Bautista back at third with healthy ankle
ARLINGTON -- Jose Bautista made his return to third base on Friday night after spending the previous three games at designated hitter.

Bautista had been held out of defensive duties because of a right ankle injury. The Dominican native's condition improved over the past few days to the point that the club has no concerns about sending him back onto the field.

"Whether or not that's every day this series, it could be today and Sunday, DH tomorrow," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said on Friday. "But he's certainly capable tonight at third base. We'll just balance whether it's every day or every other day, and then get into the every day from there."

Bautista injured the ankle on July 14 against the Yankees. He was forced to miss the following three games before getting back into the lineup at DH.

The 30-year-old entered Friday hitting 3-for-12 since his return. He had yet to hit a home run, but did record a pair of doubles and three RBIs.

"Lot of good swings," Farrell said. "Yesterday, line-drive double over the left fielder's head. If there were any timing issues because of the three days missed, they were short lived. He has looked very good at the plate."

Bautista entered Friday with a Major League leading 31 home runs. He also leads in walks (78), on-base percentage (.466) and slugging (.690).

Rookie Eric Thames was also back in Toronto's starting lineup one day after slightly twisting his ankle in the series finale against Seattle. Thames left that game in the sixth but arrived at the ballpark on Friday feeling fine.

"Yesterday was more precautionary than anything," Farrell said of the decision to take Thames out of the game. "He's good to go after turning the ankle."