Jose Bautista day-to-day with mild hamstring strain

Tom Szczerbowski

The Blue Jays are optimistic the slugger won't miss too much time with the injury.

The Blue Jays are optimistic slugger Jose Bautista will only miss a few days after suffering a mild hamstring strain in Sunday's game against the Reds.

Jays manager John Gibbons told Sportsnet's Shi Davidi on Monday afternoon that the outfielder will miss "hopefully just a couple days" as Bautista tries to rest the injury and avoid any long-term absence from Toronto's lineup.

The 33-year-old is having another strong campaign for the Jays and is hitting .305/.433/.526 with 15 home runs in 338 plate appearances this season. He has walked 59 times to just 48 strikeouts in 2014 and leads the Jays in batting average, on-base percentage and runs scored.

According to Davidi, the Jays plan to pair Anthony Gose with Kevin Pillar in right field while Bautista is out of the lineup.

In 2013, Bautista hit .259/.358/.498 in 118 games before finishing the year on the DL with an injury to his left hip. Indeed, poor health has nagged Bautista for a few straight seasons now, with a left wrist injury holding the Dominican Republic native to just 92 games in 2012.

Bautista hit more than 40 home runs in back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011, and even with the recent injuries the past two years, he has still belted more than 25 home runs in each of the last four seasons.

The Jays also lost third baseman Brett Lawrie to injury on Sunday as the 24-year-old was placed on the DL with a broken finger. Lawrie's injury will keep him out far longer than Bautista, and the Jays plan to platoon Juan Francisco and Steve Tolleson at third base in Lawrie's absence.

With Bautista ailing and Lawrie out for an extended period of time, the injuries are starting to pile up for the Blue Jays. Jose Reyes did return to the team's lineup Monday night after fouling a ball off his shin on Saturday, however, and assuming Bautista is able to return to the club's lineup without much trouble, Toronto's prospects shouldn't change too much at the top of the AL East.

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