Blue Jays' Bo Bichette says he'll return from IL on Saturday

Toronto Blue Jays All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette says he will return from a knee injury this weekend, giving a boost to the team as it tries to hold on to a wild-card spot in the American League.

"Should be in the lineup on Saturday," Bichette said, after homering and playing shortstop in a rehab game with Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday night.

Toronto has a half-game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the third and final AL wild-card spot entering Friday's game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Bichette, 25, has been on the injured list since Aug. 2 with patellar tendinitis in his right knee.

"I checked all the boxes. Ran good, felt good moving around at short, swing felt good," he said, after going 2-for-3 with three RBIs in the Bisons' 7-1 win against Rochester.

The two-time All-Star was leading the AL with a .321 batting average when he went on the IL. He still leads the AL with 144 hits and has 17 home runs and 59 RBIs in 106 games.

In five seasons, Bichette is a career .302 hitter with 86 home runs and 298 RBIs in 499 games with the Blue Jays. He finished 11th in AL MVP voting last season and 12th in 2021.

The Blue Jays on Friday also activated right-hander Trevor Richards (neck) and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (elbow) from the injured list. In related moves, right-hander Jay Jackson and outfielder Nathan Lukes were optioned to Triple-A Buffalo.

Richards is 1-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 39 appearances this season, while Kiermaier is batting .274 with five home runs and 27 RBIs in 95 games.