Rolen's return date to Jays uncertain

Rolen's return date to Jays uncertain

TORONTO -- With only a week left before Scott Rolen is eligible to come off the disabled list, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is unsure exactly when his third baseman will be healthy enough for a return to the lineup.

Rolen, who has been on the 15-day DL since Aug. 10 with fatigue in his left shoulder, is currently in Florida, where he is undergoing treatment for the injury. He is eligible to return in time for Toronto's road series against Tampa Bay next Tuesday.

While Gaston indicated that Rolen would meet up with the Jays during the series in St. Petersburg, he was not certain that the third baseman would be ready to rejoin the Toronto lineup. With the Jays heading to New York following their series in Tampa Bay, it is quite possible that Rolen could stay in Florida and continue to receive treatment.

"We'll see him when we go down [to Florida]," Gaston said, prior to Tuesday's series opener against the Yankees at Rogers Centre. "He'd probably be there until we get [his shoulder] straight and until he starts to feel better. It's still a little sore at times."

Gaston also added that Rolen is not playing any baseball in Florida, but is instead receiving rehab that would help "break up" the tissue in his shoulder in order to provide him with more flexibility. If the 33-year-old Rolen does not soon participate in any game action, though, it may prove difficult for him to return to the Toronto lineup as early as next week.

When Rolen was placed on the DL at the end of the Jays' last homestand, he described the rehab he was undergoing as sort of a deep massage. He also said that he found it difficult to swing a bat while undergoing such treatment.

"The rehab is pretty intense -- digging pretty deep into the shoulder and the capsule trying to loosen up some tissue," Rolen said at the time. "When we're doing that and I'm trying to play and swing a baseball bat at the same time, we're kind of counteracting what we're doing.

"If we give it time to cool down a little bit and get in there and dig and get after that without having to swing the bat and undo it, that's hopefully going to help it recover a little better."

Rolen's left shoulder has been a problem in the past, as he has undergone three operations on it since 2005. The third baseman also missed the first 23 games of this season with a right finger injury. In 88 games this year, he is batting .252 with seven homers and 38 RBIs.

David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.