DETROIT -- The Blue Jays are expected to receive a major boost on Friday when Jose Bautista makes his return to the lineup.
Bautista has been out since July 16, when he sprained his left wrist while taking a swing during a game in New York. He was scheduled to make a rehab appearance on Tuesday night in Tampa, and even though the game was rained out, it hasn't altered his overall timeline.
The 31-year-old appeared along with first baseman Adam Lind in a simulated game at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., on Wednesday. They are both set to travel to New Hampshire on Thursday for another rehab game, and Bautista would then join the Blue Jays the following day.
"They both went through that simulated game, got six at-bats," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "They're not playing tonight with [Class A] Dunedin because they got their work done this morning as to not risk a potential rainout again."
Lind's return to the Major Leagues isn't expected to happen until the end of August or the beginning of September. The Blue Jays would like him to appear in at least nine Minor League games in order to ensure he gets enough at-bats and has the opportunity to take a lot of repetitions at first base.
"The last thing we want to do is get a guy back here and all of a sudden he goes down again," Farrell said of Lind, who has been out since late July with back soreness. "The most important thing is that he feels free, and all reports are that the way he's swinging the bat, he's free and easy and loose. Those are all positive things."
No plans to option Romero or skip his start
DETROIT -- Ricky Romero has gone through more than his fair share of ups and downs this season, but the Blue Jays have no intention of bailing on their former No. 1 starter.
Romero has lost an American League worst 10 decisions in a row while posting a 7.69 ERA and 1.96 WHIP over that 11-start span. It's a far cry from last season's results when Romero was a bonafide ace, but there's still hope he will turn things around before the year is out.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell said on Wednesday that his club is not considering skipping Romero's next start or optioning him to the Minor Leagues, and instead will focus on getting him back on track at the big league level.
"The first thing I want to say is that we're not turning from Ricky," Farrell said one day after Romero issued a career-high eight walks in a 5-3 loss to Detroit. "I believe in him, we believe in him and we're not going to run from Ricky Romero.
"I think it would be very short-sighted on our part to just say, 'You know what Ricky, just sit on the bench for a while.' That's not to say we don't continue to work at and address his needs ... but I think the only way to continue to improve upon those is to work at it, and the game itself is where the work needs to continue to take place."
Romero had arguably been the Blue Jays' most reliable pitcher in each of the past two seasons. Last year he went 15-11 with a sparkling 2.92 ERA on his way to becoming one of the elite pitchers in the American League.
The velocity is still there, but the command appears to escape him at times during each start. He'll either leave a couple of pitches up in the zone or simply have issues throwing strikes, as was the case on Tuesday night when he walked six batters in the first two innings.
Toronto's hope is that Romero will be able to turn things around over the final six weeks of the season and finish the year on a positive note. That could work wonders for Romero during the offseason, as he'll attempt to put this disappointing campaign in the past.
"If that means there are opportunities upcoming where he has finished out a fifth inning in good fashion, he's ending on a positive note, maybe we take that into account a little bit more and gradually build it back in that way," Farrell said.
"It's always beneficial and reinforcing to get some proof of the work you're putting in. So we feel like there's a potential adjustment that we can make, or that I can make with in-game decisions regarding him directly, that hopefully we can continue to build the confidence that's needed."
Cooper day to day with neck, back issues
DETROIT -- Blue Jays first baseman David Cooper was forced to exit Wednesday night's 3-2 loss against the Tigers in the sixth inning because of a jammed neck and upper-back spasms.
Cooper was injured while running the bases in the fourth inning. He sent a shot off the wall in right field and rounded first base with the intention of going to second, but was forced to turn back.
When Cooper made the turn back to first he slipped and then had to dive into the bag, which is when he was injured. He remained in the game until he was lifted for pinch-hitter Jeff Mathis in the sixth.
"The back spasms he experienced the other day, he re-aggravated it after the line-drive single and he dove back into first base," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "The dive back in, the jarring action, caused that spasm to re-appear. He's day to day, and we'll check him in the morning.
"He had the spasms in the upper back, so that whole area was affected previous, and the dive back in re-aggravated it."
Cooper has become one of the Blue Jays' most reliable hitters of late by hitting .329 (23-for-70) with 10 extra-base hits in August.
Backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba took over for Cooper at first base. It was the first time in Torrealba's 12-year career that he appeared at the position.
Escobar placed on paternity list
DETROIT -- Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was placed on the paternity list Wednesday afternoon so he could travel to Miami for the birth of his child.
Escobar left the team following Tuesday night's loss in Detroit so he could be with his fiancee. The maximum time allowed on the paternity list is three days, but it's possible he could return in time for Friday night's game in Baltimore.
The roster move allowed the Blue Jays to recall right-hander Chad Beck from Triple-A Las Vegas. Beck has appeared in seven games for Toronto this season while posting a 5.87 ERA.
Escobar is hitting .246 with seven homers, 13 doubles and 39 RBIS for Toronto this year. He'll be replaced at shortstop by top prospect Adeiny Hechavarria, who has spent most of his time this month at third base following the absence of Brett Lawrie.