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07/22/11 9:26 PM ET

Bautista back at third with healthy ankle

ARLINGTON -- Jose Bautista made his return to third base on Friday night after spending the previous three games at designated hitter.

Bautista had been held out of defensive duties because of a right ankle injury. The Dominican native's condition improved over the past few days to the point that the club has no concerns about sending him back onto the field.

"Whether or not that's every day this series, it could be today and Sunday, DH tomorrow," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said on Friday. "But he's certainly capable tonight at third base. We'll just balance whether it's every day or every other day, and then get into the every day from there."

Bautista injured the ankle on July 14 against the Yankees. He was forced to miss the following three games before getting back into the lineup at DH.

The 30-year-old entered Friday hitting 3-for-12 since his return. He had yet to hit a home run, but did record a pair of doubles and three RBIs.

"Lot of good swings," Farrell said. "Yesterday, line-drive double over the left fielder's head. If there were any timing issues because of the three days missed, they were short lived. He has looked very good at the plate."

Bautista entered Friday with a Major League leading 31 home runs. He also leads in walks (78), on-base percentage (.466) and slugging (.690).

Rookie Eric Thames was also back in Toronto's starting lineup one day after slightly twisting his ankle in the series finale against Seattle. Thames left that game in the sixth but arrived at the ballpark on Friday feeling fine.

"Yesterday was more precautionary than anything," Farrell said of the decision to take Thames out of the game. "He's good to go after turning the ankle."

Snider starts in center for third time this year

ARLINGTON -- Travis Snider made his third start of the season in center field for the Blue Jays on Friday night against Texas.

Snider has spent almost his entire career playing the corner outfield positions, but Toronto continues to experiment with the 23-year-old up the middle.

The sample size is still small, but so far manager John Farrell has liked what he has seen from the Washington native.

"We've seen when he's in left field he has very good reads and routes, and those are playing out as well in his time in center field," Farrell said. "He's able to take advantage of an above-average throwing arm and accuracy with some plays he has made already. He's made that adjustment pretty darn well."

Snider got off to a slow start at the plate this season, which prompted a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas. Since his return on July 4, he's been on a tear, hitting .333 with two home runs, 17 RBIs and nine doubles.

The fourth-year player continues to work on his new hitting mechanics at the plate, but learning a new position at the same time doesn't appear to have caused any problems.

"Since he has returned it has been a consistent approach," Farrell said. "He has covered pitches on both sides of the plate. More than anything, he feels confident in himself and his ability to not only [hit] good velocity and above-average velocity, but he's covered some pitches on the outer part of the plate by driving some balls the other way."

Snider's presence in center field meant Rajai Davis found himself on the bench despite hitting .375 (6-for-16) with a pair of RBIs in his career against Rangers starter Colby Lewis.

Farrell made the decision to sit Davis because he wanted to get as many lefties in the lineup as possible. Left-handers are batting .286 against Lewis compared to .190 for right-handers.

The lineup move also sets up Davis to come off the bench, where he has been able to use his speed in recent games. Davis came in as a reserve Tuesday night and stole three bases, and on Thursday he appeared in the seventh and proceeded to steal a base and record a double in his only at-bat.

"He has done an exceptional job," Farrell said. "When we have made that move [to pinch-run] he has taken over and had that impact, as we have all seen.

"The ability to steal multiple bases in one inning, I think there has been seven times this year where he has stolen second and third in the same inning and has scored in every one of those instances."

Farrell said he expected to start Davis on Saturday and Sunday versus Texas' Matt Harrison and Alexi Ogando.

Blue Jays prepared to handle the heat

ARLINGTON -- The Blue Jays left the hot and humid conditions north of the border on Thursday night only to find temperatures just as extreme in Texas.

Rogers Centre closed its roof on Thursday afternoon because of a heat index that approached 48 degrees Celsius -- 118 Fahrenheit -- with humidity.

There were similar conditions at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday, with temperatures in the afternoon hovering around 44 degrees Celsius -- 111 Fahrenheit -- with humidity.

"There's a number of things available to guys," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "Some are traditional as far as what we'll be able to have for every guy in the dugout. Those are no different when you get into the heat."

Prior to the series, Farrell talked about possibly having his starting pitchers take an IV before each game. That decision will ultimately be left to the individual, but the treatment is available for any player who is concerned about becoming dehydrated during the game.

"You don't want to strongly suggest to someone that they feel like they're doing something outside their normal routine," Farrell said.

"This is a matter of fluids. It's not a huge thing. But with every starter, they know their routine and they're going to hydrate extensively the day or two prior to their start, and I'm sure Jo-Jo [Reyes] has done that leading into today."

Worth noting

Right-hander Scott Richmond cleared waivers on Friday and will remain with the organization in Triple-A Las Vegas. Richmond was designated for assignment earlier this week.

The 31-year-old is 5-8 with a 6.80 ERA in 18 starts this season for Las Vegas. The Blue Jays now have three open spots on their 40-man roster.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.