ST. PETERSBURG -- Jose Reyes is set to rejoin the Blue Jays in time for their series finale against Tampa Bay on Wednesday afternoon.
Toronto announced late Monday night that Reyes will be activated prior to Wednesday's game. A corresponding roster move is not expected to be made until around the same time.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos made the trip to Triple-A Buffalo on Monday night to watch Reyes play for the Bisons and must have liked what he saw. Anthopoulos gave the green light to activate Reyes from the 60-day disabled list and get him back into the Blue Jays' everyday lineup.
"He's not limited in anything that he can do, not hobbling at all," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said earlier Monday afternoon. "He's swinging the bat, stole a base. Basically, he has come so far, but as far as actually playing games, it hasn't been that long -- just trying to build that up."
Reyes has been out since he suffered a severely sprained left ankle while stealing second base in Kansas City on April 12. He was originally ruled out until the All-Star break but recovered quicker than anticipated and had his timeline moved up to the end of June.
With Anthopoulos in the stands, Reyes went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI while playing all nine innings at shortstop for Buffalo on Monday night. The Dominican native finished his rehab .414 (12-for-29) with a double and six runs scored in seven games for Class A Dunedin and Buffalo.
Reyes is expected to resume his spot at the top of the Blue Jays' lineup on Wednesday. The likely scenario would then see current leadoff hitter Melky Cabrera drop down to fifth, while Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind remain where they are.
The Blue Jays had their 11-game winning streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday night, but despite the positive stretch, it's clear that Reyes will add another dynamic piece to their lineup. Reyes is a career .293 hitter with a .343 on-base percentage and 415 stolen bases in parts of 11 seasons at the big league level.
Toronto will have a tough roster decision to make prior to Wednesday's game. Infielder Munenori Kawasaki could be the odd man out after filling in for Reyes during the four-time All-Star's 66-game absence. Kawasaki is hitting .225 with a .337 on-base percentage and seven stolen bases this season.
Another scenario at the Blue Jays' disposal is to drop a reliever. Toronto currently has an eight-man bullpen with just a three-man bench. The candidates include left-hander Juan Perez and right-hander Dustin McGowan, but both pitchers are out of options on their contracts and would be exposed to waivers prior to being sent down.
Right-hander Neil Wagner also could be a possibility. He has an option remaining on his contract and could be sent to Triple-A Buffalo without the risk of having another team pick him up.