Bautista on track to return on Friday

Bautista on track to return on Friday

DETROIT -- The Blue Jays are expected to receive a major boost on Friday when Jose Bautista makes his return to the lineup.

Bautista has been out since July 16, when he sprained his left wrist while taking a swing during a game in New York. He was scheduled to make a rehab appearance on Tuesday night in Tampa, and even though the game was rained out, it hasn't altered his overall timeline.

The 31-year-old appeared along with first baseman Adam Lind in a simulated game at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Wednesday. They are both set to travel to New Hampshire on Thursday for another rehab game, and Bautista would then join the Blue Jays the following day.

"They both went through that simulated game, got six at-bats," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "They're not playing tonight with [Class A] Dunedin because they got their work done this morning as to not risk a potential rainout again."

Lind's return to the Major Leagues isn't expected to happen until the end of August or the beginning of September. The Blue Jays would like him to appear in at least nine Minor League games in order to ensure he gets enough at-bats and has the opportunity to take a lot of repetitions at first base.

"The last thing we want to do is get a guy back here and all of a sudden he goes down again," Farrell said of Lind, who has been out since late July with back soreness. "The most important thing is that he feels free, and all reports are that the way he's swinging the bat, he's free and easy and loose. Those are all positive things."