Pablo Sandoval could return for the Boston Red Sox in the postseason despite being expected to miss the rest of 2016 after shoulder surgery in early May.
Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters on Saturday the third baseman is ahead of schedule in his rehab.
"Based on the surgery that was performed, based on the rehab that was required, he's doing a very good job," Farrell said, via MLB.com.
"He's been in games already in the instructional league. He's taking care of his end of the work that's needed.
"Could he return this year? I'm not ruling it out."
Sandoval has already played as a designated hitter on his return, and will probably spend some time at third base.
Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill have split time at third this season in Sandoval's absence.
Even if Sandoval is ready to return to action, the Red Sox may not necessarily add him to the postseason roster.
"At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next spring training," Farrell told MLB.com.
"We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he's put in, the way he's responded to the rehab, the way he's worked himself into better condition. We're staying open-minded."