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Lind ready to begin Minor League rehab assignment

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TORONTO -- Adam Lind is one step closer to making a return to the Blue Jays after it was announced that he will begin a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League on Thursday.

Lind has been out since July 7 with a fractured right foot. He has been participating in parts of simulated games for more than a week, but this marks another big step in his recovery.

Toronto hasn't revealed an exact timeline for his return, but it seems realistic that he could play during an upcoming series in Seattle from Monday to Wednesday.

"He feels good to go," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

When Lind does rejoin the Blue Jays he'll likely be limited to designated-hitter duties until Edwin Encarnacion is activated from the 15-day disabled list. Lind's foot hasn't improved to the point where he can play the field on a regular basis, but Toronto wants to get his bat into the lineup.

Encarnacion is still without a timeline for his return, but he's likely at least two weeks away. He has started working out on a stationary bike and has continued to take some light swings but still has quite a ways to go in his recovery from a strained right quad.

Toronto likely will continue to use Juan Francisco and Danny Valencia at first base for the foreseeable future. Once Encarnacion returns, he can start at DH, while the hope is that Lind will then be ready to play the field at first.

"He ran on a treadmill, taking ground balls, swinging," Gibbons said of Encarnacion. "But that's what he was doing before he had that little setback anyways."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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