Bautista takes step forward in rehab

Bautista takes step forward in rehab

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista is one step closer returning, after taking swings prior to Saturday afternoon's game against the Tigers.

Bautista, who has been out since July 16 with a sprained left wrist, went through a series of dry swings and swings off a tee with a fungo bat.

"He felt very good," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "The next progression would be to put a regular bat in his hand and take the same dry swing, [plus] tee work with a normal game bat -- get into front flips and then ultimately BP. So, today was really an encouraging day for him."

Bautista started with the fungo bat because it's lighter and puts less pressure on the injured area. Now that the first test has been passed, he will be able to continue on with his rehab with the hope of speeding up his recovery.

The Dominican native is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 1, but it remains unlikely that Bautista will be ready to play by then.

"I don't want to ever say no, but it still projects to be a few more days than Wednesday," Farrell said. "But [on Friday], I said it would be Monday by the time he started to swing -- and here he is already off a tee. But he is making good progress."

Bautista is hitting .244 with 27 home runs and 65 RBIs in 90 games this season.