© 2011 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

07/15/11 11:40 PM ET

Blue Jays confident Bautista will return soon

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista remains day to day with a twisted right ankle, and the Blue Jays are confident the injury won't become a long-term problem.

Bautista rolled his ankle while sliding into third base on Thursday night against the Yankees. He went to the ground in obvious pain for several minutes before eventually limping off the field.

The injury appeared as though it could be severe, but less than 24 hours after the incident, things took a more positive turn.

"Today is no worse than last night at the time of turning the ankle," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He has been walking in a walking boot. We'll continue to work throughout the course of today and tonight's game, continue working on getting the swelling out of there."

The Blue Jays don't have a set timetable for Bautista's return, but the best-case scenario would be Sunday's series finale against New York. The more realistic option would be using Monday's off-day to Bautista's advantage and resting him until Tuesday, when Toronto opens a three-game set against Seattle.

Bautista was originally expected to undergo an MRI on Friday, but the club opted not to send him for additional tests. He will continue to be monitored but as of Friday afternoon Bautista's condition had stabilized enough to convince the Blue Jays that extra precaution wasn't necessary.

"He hasn't [had an MRI] yet, in large part because we were going to respond to that in how he felt today," Farrell said. "There was no additional swelling, no additional stiffness, and if there was any increases in those two areas, certainly, [the MRI] would take place."

Bautista entered play Friday with the Major League lead in home runs (31), walks (75), on-base percentage (.470) and slugging (.701). He also ranks first in the American League in times on base (178), second in runs (74) and average (.336).

The Dominican native was forced to miss five games earlier this year because of tightness in his neck. Bautista was able to make a quick recovery from that ailment, and Toronto appears confident he will be able to make similar strides this time around.

There were initial concerns Bautista would be forced to miss an extended period of time. It's still early in the evaluation process, but it appears Bautista avoided any serious damage and should return in the next few days.

"As of right now, no," Farrell said when asked if it was a long-term concern. "That's going on his comments and the way he is moving around today, and the fact that there has been no additional symptoms overnight."

Thames OK after leaving with leg cramp

TORONTO -- Eric Thames was forced to leave Friday night's game against the Yankees with cramps in his left leg that were caused by dehydration.

Thames, serving as the designated hitter, departed shortly after his at-bat during the fifth inning. The 24-year-old rookie began experiencing problems earlier in the game and tried to replenish his fluids, but it was too late.

"I didn't hydrate as well as I should have," Thames said. "I took the swing at a splitter in the dirt the at-bat before, and I felt it a little bit, so I came in here and drank some Ion -- those little packets that have electrolytes and salts and all that. In the next at-bat, I fouled that first ball off, and I felt it tighten up again."

Blue Jays manager John Farrell and head trainer George Poulis came onto the field to check on Thames after his double in the fifth inning. They allowed him to remain in the game, but Thames was removed for a pinch-hitter before his next at-bat.

Thames dealt with a variety of leg injuries during his tenure in the Minor Leagues but said he knew right away this wasn't a serious injury.

"I have pulled so many muscles, I have torn so many muscles, that I know my body pretty well," Thames said. "That's why I told John, 'Hey, I'm fine, I'm just going to drink some more water, eat a banana, and I'll be fine for the rest of the game.'

"They just pulled me out as a precautionary thing. I knew I wasn't going to pull anything or tear anything ... Tomorrow, I'll be ready to go."

Thames has been on a tear since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas. He is batting .357 (25-for-70) in his past 17 games.

Drabek lifted from Triple-A start with injury

TORONTO -- Right-hander Kyle Drabek was removed from his start for Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday night because of a left trapezius injury.

Drabek had allowed six runs -- five earned -- through three innings before leaving the game. The early reports indicated the injury is not expected to be serious.

"The first couple of innings were good, and then he was removed from the game because of some left trapezius soreness," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said.

"He came out of the game, more precautionary than anything. It was on the left side, it wasn't anything that got in the way of his mechanics or the throwing motion, but he was removed at that point in time."

Drabek began the season in Toronto but was sent down to the Minors to work on his command. The 23-year-old is 1-1 with a 8.24 ERA in five starts. It was not immediately known whether he would be forced to miss his next outing.

Elsewhere in the Minor Leagues, top prospect Brett Lawrie played his first game since fracturing his left hand on June 1. Lawrie played third base and went 1-for-3 with Class A Dunedin.

"Everything felt good," Farrell said of Lawrie. "Now it's a matter of getting at-bats and building his endurance back up inside a game as a position player. He's very encouraged, upbeat, and eager to get going."

Right-hander Casey Janssen also made a rehab appearance on Thursday night. He threw one scoreless inning for Double-A New Hampshire.

Janssen will receive an off-day on Friday before throwing on back-to-back days. That would put the California native in line to re-join the Blue Jays on Tuesday for their series opener against Seattle.

Encarnacion back at third base

TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion was back at third base on Friday night for the first time since June 26.

Encarnacion received the rare start in the field because of Jose Bautista's twisted right ankle. The 28-year-old Encarnacion began the season as Toronto's starting third baseman, but a series of defensive miscues cost him the job.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell opted to put an emphasis on offense with Bautista out of the lineup. That forced him to move Encarnacion to third base, which opened up the DH spot for another left-handed bat.

"I felt with a right-hander on the mound it was a good combination of factors to keep his bat in the lineup," Farrell said of Encarnacion. "He's swinging the bat very well."

Encarnacion is hitting .299 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in his past 16 games.

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.