TORONTO -- Left-hander Brett Cecil threw off a mound on Friday afternoon for the first time since aggravating a groin injury in New York.
Cecil felt fine after the brief session and hopes to go on a rehab assignment in the near future. A tentative plan would see the reliever join Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday and then make his return at some point during Toronto's upcoming West Coast trip against the A's and Angels.
The 27-year-old hasn't pitched since he continued to feel some discomfort while pitching on June 18 vs. the Yankees. Cecil originally suffered the groin injury during a game against the Orioles and after sitting out a few days he attempted to pitch, but it didn't work out.
"We'll see how he feels, it shouldn't be long before he goes out and throws a couple of games," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.
In other injury news, Jose Bautista remains on schedule to test his strained left hamstring prior to Saturday afternoon's game vs. the White Sox. Bautista will go through a series of running drills, and at that point it will be determined whether he can return to the lineup or will possibly require a stint on the disabled list.
The earliest Bautista could return appears to be Sunday, but with an off-day coming on Monday it's possible the Blue Jays will wait an additional couple of days to give him more time to recover. Bautista has been out since June 22 after he aggravated the injury during a game against the Reds.
"I wouldn't expect [him to play Saturday]," Gibbons said. "Let him run around, get his treatment and hopefully the next day. That'd be my guess. He'll heat it up, and then you cool off waiting to play the game. You never know how that affects you. You don't want a setback."
Bautista to Farrell: Get Edwin to ASG
TORONTO -- Jose Bautista has a message for his former manager John Farrell: Don't forget about Edwin Encarnacion.
Farrell is the manager of the American League for the upcoming All-Star Game in Minnesota and will have a say in which players make the cut. The starters are picked via fan balloting and the players also hold a vote, but the final selections are made by the manager.
Bautista spent two years in Toronto with Farrell and it's pretty clear he was trying to send a message in his comments about the upcoming Midsummer Classic.
"That would be an extreme mistake on part of the manager if he doesn't pick him," Bautista said of Encarnacion. "How could you not pick the guy who is leading the league in home runs and RBIs?
"I'm surprised still that the fans haven't come out and supported him better and he's not leading the votes for his position, but you can't control that as much as you can control a manager picking a player."
Encarnacion is tied with Baltimore's Nelson Cruz and Jose Abreu of the White Sox for the most home runs in the Major Leagues with 25. He's also one behind Cruz for the lead in RBIs with 65. Overall, Encarnacion is hitting .277 with 47 extra-base hits and a .947 OPS in 81 games.
Despite the impressive stats, Encarnacion was ranked fourth at his designated hitter position when the latest round of fan votes were released Sunday night. Encarnacion trails Cruz, Boston's David Ortiz and Detroit's Victor Martinez.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
"I think, either way he should make the team," Bautista said. "It would be a huge disappointment and let down to all fans if you don't have a guy like Edwin dressed up for that game. No matter if it's the other players or the manager picking him."