SAN FRANCISCO -- Jose Reyes' sprained left ankle continues to improve and it's possible he could begin a rehab assignment within a couple of weeks.
Toronto's shortstop has been traveling with his team for the past two weeks and going through daily strengthening drills.
Reyes has been running the bases every two days while also taking part in some batting practice and light fielding drills. It's the first step toward a return, and when the ankle gains a little more strength, he'll be sent to extended spring training in Florida.
"It's close, not that far away," Reyes said Tuesday afternoon. "The biggest thing is to be able to go out and run the bases on back-to-back days and go from there. If I'm able to do that, even if I'm not 100 percent I feel like I can help this ballclub.
"Even at 85 to 90 percent, I'm going to be on the field and I'll go to do my assignment and get back here as soon as possible."
Reyes has been out since he suffered a severely sprained ankle while stealing second base during a game against the Royals on April 12. He was originally expected to be out until the All-Star break but it now appears as though he could be back before the end of June.
That would come as very positive news for a Blue Jays team that clearly has missed his presence at the top of the lineup. It would give the club another player with an ability to reach base on a semi-regular basis in front of the likes of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
Reyes still feels some weakness in the area but a lot of the pain has dissipated and he should be ready to increase the intensity of his workouts in the near future.
"It's going quicker than I thought," Reyes said. "It's not even two months. Nobody is going to be running around any sooner because that ankle sprain was bad. It was not easy and I just thank God that I am able to be running around so soon."
Reyes has been told by doctors to wear a left-ankle brace for the rest of his career. In theory, that could be troublesome for a player who relies on agility and speed but Reyes said it hasn't been obstructive during his recent workouts.
The Dominican Republic native likely will require a significant amount of time in rehab games prior to his official arrival in Toronto. The Blue Jays learned the hard way in April that rushing someone to the big leagues can have a negative impact on his timing at the plate. Third baseman Brett Lawrie appeared to make a premature return and it clearly played a role in his early-season offensive struggles.
Patience will be key but it's clear a lot of progress already has been made.
"Been swinging the last week or so, the swing is good," said Reyes, who hit .395 in 10 games this season. "I've been taking ground balls, too. Today it's going to be ground balls off to the side to see how I feel moving [laterally].
"It's going to be another step for me, moving around on the field ... going into the hole, throw to first and go to the bag and turn a double play. That's going to be huge because things happen so quickly in a baseball game. I need to be ready for that."