NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes rejoined his teammates in New York on Friday night as he continues to rehab a severe left ankle sprain.
Toronto's shortstop has been out of action since sustaining the injury while stealing second base on April 12 in Kansas City. He recently had a walking boot removed and has begun the slow process of regaining strength in the area.
Reyes went onto the field prior to Friday night's game at Yankee Stadium and took part in stretching while also playing catch. He's already resumed hitting off a tee and expects to start jogging by the end of next week.
"It's frustrating because I want to be on the field helping my ballclub win a lot of ballgames," said Reyes, who will accompany the team back to Toronto on Sunday. "Injuries happen, that's part of the game. I've been working the last five weeks very hard to come back as soon as possible."
Reyes was expected to be out until the All-Star break, but Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said it's possible that timeline could be pushed up to the end of June. The biggest test will come when he starts running, something which likely will happen within the next couple of weeks.
The injury is somewhat similar to the one he experienced back in 2003 with the Mets. He was forced to miss only 26 games because it happened toward the end of the season, but he was still feeling the effects the following Spring Training.
The healing process should be a lot quicker this time around because the pain hasn't lingered in quite the same way.
"The one that I had with the New York Mets was worse than this one," Reyes said. "That one took me a long time to come back from, this one is not that bad. I can see in five weeks I've made a lot of progress. That's good to see."
Reyes was off to a hot start at the time of his unfortunate injury. He hit .395 (15-for-38) with four extra-base hits and five RBIs in 10 games and provided Toronto with the prototypical leadoff hitter the club hasn't had in arguably a decade.
The Dominican native's departure sent a ripple effect through the batting order, and the club has experienced difficulty regaining its footing ever since. The Blue Jays entered play on Friday night having won four consecutive games, but they were still seven games below .500 and in last place in the American League East.
The Blue Jays' prolonged struggles have made it even more difficult on Reyes, who said he has watched every game this season. But the recent turnaround has given the Blue Jays and their walking wounded some renewed hope.
"Right now they're doing the little stuff, getting a big hit with two outs -- that's something earlier in the season you didn't see that much," Reyes said. "When you get that huge hit with two outs, everybody gets excited and that's something I've seen the past week. Hopefully, they can continue to play like that."
Bonifacio taking advantage of more playing time
NEW YORK -- Super utility man Emilio Bonifacio is making the most out of his opportunity to receive more playing time.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons recently made a decision to give Bonifacio an extended look after previously only using him sporadically during April.
Bonifacio got the start at second base on Friday night against New York, which marked his fifth consecutive game being inserted into the lineup. At least for now, the regular playing time appears to have helped with his timing both at the plate and in the field.
"I think he has taken advantage of it," Gibbons said. "I think he feels good, a little more relaxed, he doesn't have to look over his shoulder [and say], 'If I don't do something this game, maybe I won't be in there.'
"We knew who he is -- he's a talented player, a good player. Every report that we got from everybody who has seen him play said, 'This is your guy, he'll help you win.' So in all fairness to him, he's getting that shot now and has taken advantage of it."
Gibbons made the decision to start Bonifacio on a regular basis prior to a recent game in Boston. The starting positions might change as Bonifacio could see time in both left field and center field in addition to second base, where most of his work to date has occurred.
Bonifacio entered play on Friday night hitting .375 (6-for-16) with a pair of extra-base hits and four RBIs in his past four games. The sample size is incredibly small and there's no way to know for sure whether the success will continue, but the Blue Jays have decided to see what he can do.
"He deserved that, he's too good of a player not to play," Gibbons said. "We looked at it, too, we weren't winning a lot of games, maybe he can contribute some way to help us. He's doing that."
McGowan promoted to Triple-A Buffalo
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Dustin McGowan is one step closer to making a possible return to the Major Leagues after he received a promotion to Triple-A Buffalo on Friday afternoon.
McGowan is currently on a rehab assignment after undergoing yet another shoulder surgery last year. He recently made two appearances with Class A Dunedin while striking out four and walking one in a pair of innings.
That has resulted in the promotion, and while there's no immediate timeline for his return to the big leagues, he'll now at least be able to test his arm vs. better competition.
The 31-year-old has appeared in just five games since 2008 because of multiple shoulder surgeries. He's also dealt with foot and knee injuries in the past but once again is on the comeback trail.