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Blue Jays use caution in giving Bautista day off

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista was forced to sit out Friday night's game against the Red Sox because of a twisted right ankle, suffered while attempting to beat out a double play in the eighth inning of Thursday's 10-8 win against the Indians.

There was hope that Bautista wouldn't have to miss any time, but it was clear Friday afternoon that he would need an additional period of rest after arriving at Rogers Centre.

"Much better right now than when I woke up and got here today," Bautista said. "I still believe that the proper precaution was taken with taking today off and see how it feels tomorrow, possibly play tomorrow."

Bautista said that his ankle isn't swollen and he described the symptoms as soreness, not pain. He was hoping to be available for pinch-hitting duties, but that also was ruled out prior to Friday night's game.

The Dominican Republic native said if the game was taking place later in the season, there's no doubt he would be playing. But with his club just four games into the season, there was no sense risking further damage that could cause lingering problems.

"It's the right move," Bautista said. "It's early in the season, and I'd rather do that, take one or two games off, instead of trying to play on it and have to take a full week or 10 days off.

"There's no pressing need for me to be playing right now, but if this was at the end of the season, and the games were to put us in the playoffs, or we were in the playoffs, I would definitely be playing."

The Blue Jays can ill afford to lose Bautista for any prolonged period of time. He homered in back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday, and is showing no ill effects from a wrist injury that prematurely ended his 2013 campaign.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said that should Bautista return for Saturday's matinee, it would be as a designated hitter.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. Associate reporter Evan Peaslee contributed to this story.
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