TORONTO -- Jose Bautista is nearing a return and could begin a rehab assignment as early as Monday.
Toronto's right fielder hasn't played since straining his left wrist during a swing against New York on July 16. He took live batting practice on Wednesday for the first time since the injury and has begun to take positive strides in the recovery process.
Bautista was scheduled to take live batting practice in a cage again on Thursday and he'll also take 20 swings off a tee with a regular bat and another 20 swings off a tee with a fungo bat.
"There will be an off-day built in here somewhere," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of Bautista's upcoming schedule. "At the end of the day yesterday he felt like it was reasonable and right in line with repeating what he did yesterday, today.
"After today and potentially an off-day tomorrow then it's assumed at this point, or tentatively planned, that he would take live BP on the field for a couple of days and then we're looking at getting him in games after that."
Bautista likely would need three or four rehab games before being ready for a return to the Blue Jays. He's expected to take batting practice on the field on Saturday and Sunday and if all goes well, he should be cleared to start appearing in games.
Third baseman Brett Lawrie is also nearing a return to the lineup. Lawrie is currently working out at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., as he recovers from a strained left oblique.
The native of Langley, British Columbia, is expected to appear in a pair of rehab games for Class A Dunedin this weekend and could return to the Blue Jays lineup on Tuesday in Detroit.