ST. PETERSBURG -- Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston decided against starting Scott Rolen in the finale of a three-game set against the Rays on Thursday night, opting to give the third baseman the entire series off to continue his recovery from a fatigued left shoulder.

Rolen, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, will likely make his first appearance back in Toronto's starting lineup against the Yankees on Friday in New York. Considering Rolen hadn't played in any Minor League rehab games during his DL stint, Gaston didn't believe it was fair to start him so soon.

"We're just going to give him another day," Gaston said. "He didn't go out and play any games or anything like that. Just to throw him right back in there after two days, I don't think is fair to him. I figure if I can give him another day, and let him get some more [batting practice], we'll go from there."

It was a change from Wednesday, when Gaston said it was "more than likely" that the 33-year-old Rolen would start in the finale against Tampa Bay. Gaston changed his mind and discussed the altered plan with the third baseman on Wednesday night.

Rolen was placed on the DL on Aug. 10 after experiencing some discomfort in his neck and upper back -- possibly due to an aggressive rehab program on his left shoulder while he continued to play. Rolen spent the last few weeks resting his arm and making a slight adjustment to his swing to ease some of the stress on his shoulder.

Rolen, who is owed $26 million over the next two seasons, has undergone three operations on the shoulder in question over the past three years. Twice in 2005, Rolen had procedures to repair labral tears in his arm and he also had surgery to remove scar tissue in his shoulder last September.

This season, Rolen has hit .252 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 88 games for the Blue Jays, who acquired him in a January trade with St. Louis that sent third baseman Troy Glaus to the Cardinals. From the end of June and into early August, Rolen hit just .172 during a 29-game span, during which his fatigued shoulder affected his range of motion.