BALTIMORE -- Jose Bautista's return to the Blue Jays' lineup barely lasted 24 hours before he was placed back onto the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his left wrist.
Bautista re-aggravated his wrist injury during a first inning at-bat against Baltimore on Saturday night. It's the same ailment that just cost him more than a month and this time around it will equate to at least 15 days and possibly the rest of the season.
Toronto's right fielder will now travel to Cleveland on Sunday to be re-evaluated by a hand specialist and get an in-depth prognosis on what his next steps should be.
"I just felt a little discomfort and a little soreness," Bautista said after the Blue Jays' 8-2 loss to Baltimore. "I think it's better to just let it calm down for a couple of days and see how it goes.
"Obviously no sense in pushing it when you're coming back from an injury and you feel like it might go the other way. You have to put a stop to it and see what happens after you hear from the doctors and their recommendations."
Bautista originally suffered the injury during an at-bat in New York on July 16. He wasn't sure exactly when the wrist became irritated again on Saturday night, but it was on one of his swings during his lone plate appearance against right-hander Steve Johnson.
With the Blue Jays having lost seven consecutive games and dropping 14 games below .500 for the first time since 2009, there is little need to push things too far. That's why the club opted for the cautious approach of placing Bautista on the DL until more information becomes available.
The DL news came as a surprise to Bautista, who was informed of the decision by the media after the game. He originally hoped to be out for just a few games, but did seem understanding of the club's point of view in his postgame comments.
"I was not aware of that," Bautista said before pausing. "I was not aware that I was on the DL yet, but maybe the doctor also made some recommendations to [trainer] George [Poulis] as to how long it would take me to rest again and given that how many days I need to get back into swinging and all of that. Maybe that's being taken under consideration too."
Bautista attempted to begin his rehab from the injury in late July, but was shut down when the discomfort did not go away. He returned several days later and eventually took part in a rehab stint with both Class A Dunedin and Double-A New Hampshire.
The Dominican native appeared in a pair of Minor League games and a simulated game prior to being activated from the 15-day DL. Once back with the big league club, he started on Friday and was set to play another full game the following day, until pain in the wrist began to resurface.
The amount of time in between symptoms has Bautista feeling that he didn't rush back too early. The 31-year-old pointed out that often times athletes experience some regression with this type of injury before their health returns to normal.
"I've been playing and I've been fine, that's why it's a little bit bizarre to me," Bautista said. "Maybe just one of those swings I took today, might have put the hand in the same position that I got hurt before, or something, I don't know. It's hard to replicate two swings.
"I don't think it's possible for me to play five or six games like I did and felt fine and then just have one swing that replicated the other one. I felt some discomfort, I hope it's that, and I hope it will be calmed down in a couple of days and I can get back into it."
Following Saturday night's loss, the Blue Jays now find themselves 13 games back in the American League Wild Card race. That forces the club to look ahead to next season and will mean manager John Farrell and the rest of his coaching staff likely will be overly cautious with Bautista the rest of the way.
Whether that means Bautista gets shut down for the remainder of the season remains to be seen, but it's clear they will be careful with their most valuable player.
"We wouldn't have activated him if he hadn't gone through the progression to date," Farrell said. "Unfortunately in that at-bat, he felt some irritation, I don't want to say it was instability, but the inflammation arose and given what he means to us, and not just for the current time but long-term, it's precautionary, we got him out of there."
Bautista is hitting .241 with 27 homers and 65 RBIs in 92 games this season. He was replaced on the 25-man roster by infielder Adeiny Hechavarria, who could see every day at-bats at third base while Mike McCoy moves into a reserve outfielder role and Moises Sierra assumes Bautista's spot in right.