ST. PETERSBURG -- Right-hander Kyle Drabek is back on the road to recovery and it's a path he has become all too familiar with during his still brief Major League career.
Drabek underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in June and is expected to be out until at least next year's All-Star break.
It was the second time Drabek had the procedure performed, but he's already back at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., and has begun range of motion exercises on his right elbow.
"I'm still upset that it had to happen and I had to leave the team," said Drabek, who went 4-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 13 starts this year. "But who says that, if I would have tried to rehab it and tried to keep pitching that it wouldn't have gotten hurt later on and then I could have ended up missing a full season instead of half of two."
There's a long list of pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery and made it back to the big leagues with a lot of success. The list becomes a lot shorter when it comes to pitchers that have had the procedure performed twice.
The vast majority of those who had two Tommy Johns ended up coming back as relievers and not starters. That's not something Drabek wants to think about this early into his rehab, but insists when he does eventually return he wants it to be in the rotation.
"That's what I've always wanted to be and that's what I'm going to continue to be," Drabek said.
"They put a new ligament in there just like the first time so I don't see why not being able to start would be an issue."
Drabek has appeared in parts of three seasons with Toronto. He owns a career 8-15 record with a 5.34 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 167 innings.
Bautista set for another MRI on injured wrist
ST. PETERSBURG -- Jose Bautista is set to undergo another MRI on his injured left wrist within the next couple of days.
Bautista hasn't played since spraining his wrist during a game against the Yankees on July 16. He was eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 1, but is not yet close to a return.
The Dominican native had resumed swinging a bat, but was then shut down last Thursday. He will have the wrist re-evaluated in Florida by Dr. Douglas Carlin to ensure there isn't a significant problem.
"He is still complaining of some soreness in one small area," manager John Farrell said. "There's a recommendation of a follow-up MRI just to determine and compare it to the original MRI. We'll have further information after the MRI is complete."
Bautista is hitting .244 with 27 home runs and 65 RBIs in 90 games this season. He also has an .894 OPS and 41 extra-base hits in what had been another successful year in the middle of Toronto's batting order.
Rasmus returns, Lawrie remains day to day
ST. PETERSBURG -- Colby Rasmus made his return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Tuesday night after missing two games because of strained groin.
Rasmus sustained the injury while attempting to catch a fly ball during an extra-innings loss to Oakland on Friday. He was then cleared to play just a few hours before Toronto's series opener against the Rays, but even as first pitch neared the club wasn't 100 percent certain Rasmus would definitely be able to go.
"He's in the lineup, yet if he feels anything when he goes through pre-game here today, both shagging fly balls and taking BP, we may have a last-minute adjustment here," manager John Farrell said. "But, as of everything that he has reported coming into the training room, that won't be the case."
The news wasn't quite as positive for Brett Lawrie, who was forced to leave that same game on Friday because of tightness in his rib cage. The Blue Jays hoped to have Lawrie back in action on Tuesday night, but he was unable to go and remains day to day.
"Improved, yet he feels like he needs at least another day," Farrell said. "As much as he felt like he was getting past the discomfort that he was playing with, that one swing in Oakland in his first at-bat when he came out of the game that night, caused a bit more of a pinching sensation.
"While the last couple of days off have done him some good, he's still not ready to go today. We're still evaluating him day by day."