TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are one step closer to getting Vernon Wells back into their starting lineup.
Toronto's center fielder is set to join Triple-A Syracuse on Friday night to begin a rehab assignment. Wells has been out since suffering a Grade 2 strain of his left hamstring while trying to steal a base on July 9 against the Orioles.
The 29-year-old is scheduled to be the designated hitter for the Chiefs against Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the Yankees organization. If all goes well, Wells says, the plan will be to play center field on Saturday afternoon and hopefully return to the Jays for their upcoming series in Detroit, which starts on Monday.
"I've been doing pretty much everything, hitting and fielding," Wells said. "I had to pass all the tests in order to start my rehab, so hopefully I'll go down there and continue going in the same direction and get back to go on the road trip."
Wells currently is on the 15-day disabled list for the second time this season. He missed 26 games earlier this season because of a cracked left wrist. He is batting .287 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 64 games.
If Wells is unable to play center during his stint with Triple-A Syracuse, Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi didn't rule out the possibility of bringing him back as the team's DH, although that wouldn't be the preferred situation.
"We'll have to see how the leg is," Ricciardi said. "If he's close to 100 percent, then he'll play [the field]."