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Jose Bautista may return to Blue Jays' lineup this weekend

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is making progress from a mild hamstring strain and could return to the lineup this weekend.

Slugger sidelined by mild hamstring strain

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons says he is hopeful that right-fielder Jose Bautista, pictured here, would only miss "a couple of days" with a mild left hamstring strain. He left Sunday's 4-3 loss in Cincinnati after pulling up lame while running to second base on a sacrifice bunt. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is making progress from a mild hamstring strain and could return to the lineup this weekend.

He missed a three-game series against New York this week after suffering the injury last Sunday while trying to leg out a base hit during a game in Cincinnati.

Manager John Gibbons said the plan is for Bautista to have a "light day" Thursday before really testing out the leg Friday with the team's training staff.

"Hopefully by the end of the weekend, we're hoping he can get out there," Gibbons said.

Anthony Gose was slotted to fill in for Bautista in right field on Thursday night against the Chicago White Sox. Bautista could be used as a pinch-hitter at some point in the four-game series but it's doubtful that would occur before Saturday.

Bautista is batting .305 this season with 15 home runs and 49 RBIs in 77 games.

Also Thursday, Gibbons said infielder Steve Tolleson "was good to go" after seeing an eye specialist earlier in the day. Tolleson had been dealing with blurry vision over the last few days, likely due to an allergic reaction to his contact lenses.

He was wearing glasses before taking batting practice at Rogers Centre.

"They make him look way too smart to be out there," Gibbons joked.

The Blue Jays have had a few players go down with injuries of late. Infielder Brett Lawrie was also hurt last Sunday against the Reds, breaking a finger when he was hit by a pitch.

Lawrie, from Langley, B.C., will likely be out until at least the all-star break in mid-July.

Left-handed reliever Brett Cecil also went on the disabled list last week due to a groin injury.

The Blue Jays entered play Thursday with a 1 1/2-game lead on second-place Baltimore in the American League East division standings.

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