Tag: Jose Bautista

Jose Bautista Injury: Updates on Blue Jays Star’s Thigh and Return

Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista was pulled from Thursday night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles with tightness in his right thigh.

Continue for updates. 

Gibbons Comments on Bautista’s Injury

Friday, June 10 

“We don’t think it’s a big deal. … It might require a day or two off,” said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on MLB Network Radio

Bautista Listed as Day-to-Day

Thursday, June 9 

TSN’s Scott MacArthur passed along the update. 

Bautista was removed from Thursday’s game in the bottom of the sixth inning after he recorded a walk. In his first two at-bats, he notched a pair of hits and an RBI. 

Bautista Off to Rough Start in 2016

The 35-year-old slugger has rarely been consistent at the plate this season but has been available on a regular basis. Bautista has appeared in all but one game—and missed that contest due to a suspension that stemmed from his altercation with Rougned Odor. 

However, it’s hardly been a banner year for the six-time All-Star. Bautista entered Thursday batting just .227 and has recorded a .360 on-base percentage while tallying 12 home runs and 39 RBI. That said, he does lead all American League players with 45 walks. 

If Bautista is forced to miss time, Ezequiel Carrera projects as his primary replacement in right field. Over the course of 69 plate appearances to date, Carrera is batting .344 with a .391 on-base percentage, one home run and three RBI.

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Jose Bautista: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation on Blue Jays Star’s Future

Jose Bautista is in the final year of his contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and has made no secret about his desire to get paid, so it’s fitting he would have a team with a seemingly limitless supply of money to spend on his list of destinations. 

Continue for updates. 

Bautista Looking at Red Sox

Thursday, June 2

Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball reported Thursday that Bautista and teammate Edwin Encarnacion “envision the (Boston) Red Sox as a possible winter landing spot, provided David Ortiz really does go through with his plan to retire.”

Bautista is going to keep any team that has a lot of money and a desire to spend on his radar this winter. Rick Westhead of TSN.ca reported February the six-time All-Star was seeking a contract of at least five years and $150 million. 

In an era of baseball with more money coming in for teams to sign free agents, that kind of salary is not an unreasonable demand for a player with Bautista’s track record. His average season from 2010-15 included a .268/.390/.555 slash line with 38 home runs and 5.4 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs.

The problem for Bautista as he hopes to secure that kind of deal is age. He became a star late in his career and will turn 36 on October 19. There’s no denying the offensive impact he’s had since 2010, but projecting him forward is not going to make teams open the bank for him. 

There’s also the issue of why the Red Sox would give Bautista that kind of money. They aren’t hurting for young offensive talent, especially in the outfield with players like Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. under team control through 2020. 

The Red Sox also have Andrew Benintendi making his way through the minor leagues to play in the outfield, presumably as soon as 2017. 

Bautista may assume the Red Sox want a designated hitter to replace Ortiz, but players with one specialty and no defensive value don’t make $30 million per season. As great as Ortiz has been throughout his career and as great as he’s been in 2016, per Spotrac, he’s making “only” $16 million.  

Yet just looking at the business side of things, Bautista’s reported interest in the Red Sox makes complete sense because they are willing to spend a lot of money if they believe it will help their team win. 

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Jose Bautista Comments on Rougned Odor, Free Agency, Future with Blue Jays

In a wide-ranging interview with Sports Illustrated‘s Tom Verducci, Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista discussed not only his altercation with Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor but also his future north of the border. 

Bautista earned a one-game suspension for his role in the brawl with Odor. He argued Odor intended to stir the pot when the Rangers and Blue Jays closed out their three-game series May 15, per SI Wire: “Was [Odor] out to play baseball that day? Maybe partly. Part of me also thinks that he was looking for a fight.”

The six-time All-Star also contended Odor attempted to hit him in the face as he slid into second base.  Whether intentional or not, Odor’s throw to first came dangerously close to Bautista face. A good look at the throw begins at the 5:47 mark of the video below:

Bautista also told Verducci he believes the Rangers infielder has used a similar tactic before. He didn’t mention a specific incident, but Odor narrowly missed Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin to complete a double play in Game 2 of the 2015 ALDS:

Although the two teams aren’t set to meet again this year, the animosity between the Blue Jays and Rangers will likely carry over to whenever they step back on the field together again.

Bautista may not be there to see it, though. The 35-year-old is set to be a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. He told Verducci he enjoys being in Toronto and that “[he’d] be stupid to leave,” but he added he won’t let emotions come into play as he makes a decision about his future, per SI Wire:

I will explore every single option, whether it happens or not with the new regime, to continue to try to stay here. That being said, I think teams utilize [the hometown discount] a lot against players, [seeking] a discount or bargain price, and I think that’s extremely unfair, especially to have your biggest contributors on the field and try to take advantage of the fact that they like it there and negotiate a tougher deal.

As much as Bautista has done for the organization, the Blue Jays will have a tough decision regarding his next contract. He’s no longer in his prime playing years, and the team has to consider the fact Edwin Encarnacion will hit free agency as well at the end of the year. In addition, Josh Donaldson is eligible for arbitration in 2018 and will be in line for a massive extension down the road.

The Blue Jays let David Price walk last offseason, and they could do the same with Bautista should his asking price be too much for their tastes.

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Jose Bautista’s Suspension Upheld: Latest Comments and Reaction

Major League Baseball has upheld Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista‘s one-game suspension for his role in a brawl with the Texas Rangers on May 15.   

Per Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca, MLB denied Bautista’s appeal. He will sit out of Toronto’s game against the Boston Red Sox on Friday night. 

The feud between Bautista and the Rangers began last year during the playoffs with his now-legendary bat flip after he hit the decisive three-run homer in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the American League Division Series. 

In the last regular-season game between the two teams on May 15, Rangers pitcher Matt Bush put Bautista on first base in the top of the eighth inning by hitting him with a pitch.

Bautista followed up with a hard slide into second base after Justin Smoak hit a grounder to third, which Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor took exception to, and chaos ensued. 

After the game, Bautista told reporters that he actually held up on his slide, via ESPN.com: “I had a hard slide at second base. I could have injured [Odor, but] I chose not to. I tried to send a message that I didn’t appreciate getting hit [by the pitch].”

MLB announced discipline for 14 players and coaches after the brawl. Odor received the biggest punishment after punching Bautista square in the face, as he was suspended for eight games before an appeal knocked it down to seven. 

Even though Bautista did not successfully appeal his suspension, at least he can finally sit down for one game to get this ordeal over with and return to Toronto’s lineup Saturday.

The Blue Jays are off to a slow start at 24-25 this season after making the playoffs last year, so losing one of their best hitters for only one game is a huge win for their 2016 hopes, given the violence in this brawl

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Rougned Odor Landed the Punch, but Jose Bautista Deserves Strong Punishment Too

Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor started a brawl over the weekend, and one of them figures to pay an especially heavy price for it.

But don’t think for a second the other should get off easy.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, we must first dive into the rivalry history between Bautista‘s Toronto Blue Jays and Odor’s Texas Rangers. It didn’t become a true rivalry until Game 5 of last year’s American League Division Series, which Bautista‘s three-run bomb in the seventh inning effectively ended. He responded to that with the “Bat Flip Heard ‘Round the World,” and the Rangers responded to that with anger.

Fast-forward to Sunday, when the Blue Jays and Rangers turned their rivalry into an all-out blood feud. Texas right-hander Matt Bush beaned Bautista with a hard fastball in the eighth inning, and that led to this:

All told, here’s the full sequence of relevant events:

  • Bautista flips bat, angers Rangers.
  • Months later, Rangers bean Bautista.
  • Moments later, Bautista goes into second base with a late, hard slide.
  • Seconds later, Bautista and Odor go at it.
  • Split seconds later, all hell breaks loose.

This was the real deal as far as baseball brawls go, and there will be consequences. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer, said these consequences could come as soon as Tuesday:

“It certainly wasn’t pretty, and I hate seeing that stuff,” Torre said, per Paul Hagen of MLB.com.

Amen to that. Maybe baseball’s unwritten rules had a good day Sunday, but that doesn’t mean diddly as far as the optics are concerned. From Odor to Bautista to Bush to Josh Donaldson to Kevin Pillar to Russell Martin, virtually none of the Blue Jays or the Rangers looked like professionals. 

There is little question, though, that Odor is the one who’s in for the biggest punishment.

“I know I am going to be suspended for a couple of games, but I am going to keep doing what I’m doing,” the young second baseman said Monday, per T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

A couple? Try somewhere in the neighborhood of 10. And that’s if he’s lucky.

The league office isn’t going to be wrong when it concludes Odor was the brawl’s primary instigator. He was the one who made the first shove, and he was certainly the one who threw the first punch.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com and Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated brought up Carlos Quentin’s bulldozing of Zack Greinke in 2013 as relevant precedent for Odor’s actions. That would mean an eight-game suspension. If MLB sees this as more of a Michael Barrett vs. A.J. Pierzynski situation, it’ll be 10 games. If MLB really wants to throw the book at Odor, going longer than 10 games wouldn’t be unreasonable.

For his part, the loose consensus seems to be Bautista could only get a slap on the wrist. But if MLB wants to send a proper message, it’ll be a hard slap.

There’s no condoning the violent reaction it led to, but there’s also no blaming Odor for feeling a jolt of adrenaline when Bautista came sliding into second base in that eighth inning. There are late slides, and then there are late slides.

Bautista‘s slide was in the latter camp. He admitted to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com that he was trying to “send a message” with it, and the visual evidence leaves little doubt that it was an extreme example of a purpose slide.

The right fielder’s slide was as much of a leap as it was a slide. And when he landed, he was already on the second-base bag:

Odor wasn’t hurt, but he could have been. So at the least, MLB could give Bautista the same two-game suspension it originally hit Chase Utley with for taking out Ruben Tejada in last year’s playoffs.

Or, the league could push the envelope.

Whereas Utley’s takeout slide was technically legal at the time, new rules have changed that. And to that extent, MLB could view Bautista as a repeat offender. He also committed a controversial slide against the Tampa Bay Rays in the first week of the season. As Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted, that slide broke both new and old rules.

This makes Bautista a good guy for MLB to make an example of. If the league really wants players to get the gist that it’s serious about getting rid of takeout slides, it won’t stop at two games for his ban.

And that’s just for the slide. Bautista didn’t land the first punch after Odor shoved him. But from the way he was cocking his right fist, he clearly wanted to:

This is not to suggest Bautista‘s hard slide and cocked fist is the same as Odor’s shove and (presumably) very painful punch. The meat of the entire incident was the fight between the two of them, and Odor started it and finished it.

But rather than a measly two-game suspension for the one slide, a punishment more befitting of Bautista‘s actions would be half of whatever Odor is hit with. That figures to be at least four games, but stretching it to five or six games wouldn’t be out of line.

Ultimately, it’s up to Torre and baseball’s head disciplinarian, Joe Garagiola Jr. There’s no question they’re pondering punishments as we speak. The only question is how far they’ll push them.


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Justin Verlander, Jose Bautista and More, Speak on MLB’s Drug-Testing Program

Even though Major League Baseball has made great strides over the last decade to build a drug policy that is fair and carries weight for those players who fail a test, there have been some cracks in the procedure. 

Speaking to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander posed a question about certain suspensions that have been handed out: “Every time a guy gets popped who didn’t test positive, it’s kind of like, ‘Why are we even going through this?'”

The specific example Rosenthal cited is the 80-game ban handed out to free-agent catcher Taylor Teagarden, after he admitted to taking a performance-enhancing substance in the Al-Jazeera America documentary released in December. 

After Teagarden’s suspension was announced April 1, Verlander took to Twitter to vent his frustration with how MLB‘s drug-testing policy was being utilized:

In addition to Teagarden’s suspension this year, in 2013, there were 14 players suspended because they were named in a Miami New Times report by Tim Elfrink as having a connection to the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami. 

Four of the 14 players named (Ryan Braun, Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera, Yasmani Grandal) in the article had failed a performance-enhancing drug test administered by Major League Baseball. 

Continuing his conversation with Rosenthal, Verlander acknowledged there are certain ways in which all players can take substances without getting caught. 

“If you want to cheat,” Verlander said, “there is a window to do it. Guys are finding ways around the system. It’s pretty evident, pretty well-known that the people who are making these illegal substances are ahead of the testers.”

On the other side of the equation, Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista told Rosenthal that even though the system isn’t perfect, it is working well enough. 

“It’s going to be impossible to find a 100 percent level playing field. But it seems like we’re at 98-99 percent,” Bautista said. “That seems to be good enough. And the guys who are willing to risk it…there are always going to be a few rotten apples, no matter where you are.”

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw echoed Bautista’s sentiment: “If there was a type of testing that guaranteed every person that used PEDs would be caught, I would be all for it. I don’t think the problem is the length of the suspension, but more the improbability of being caught.”

All of the players are saying the same thing, though Verlander is the only one looking at it in a different way. There is a collectively bargained drug-testing system that the players go through, though MLB has demonstrated the authority to suspend someone without a positive test.

There’s no doubt that having a more stringent policy on performance-enhancing drugs is good for MLB and the players. They don’t have to worry about constant stories regarding someone having a sudden spike in performance raising eyebrows from fans and the media. 

Even though the policy may never be 100 percent satisfactory for both sides, it’s still fairly early in the process. There can be tweaks made through collective bargaining in the future to get a plan that works better for both parties. 

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Blue Jays Lose After Jose Bautista Slide Results in DP on ‘Chase Utley Rule’

Tuesday night’s contest between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays ended in controversy after a Jose Bautista slide at second base resulted in a “Chase Utley Rule” double play.

With the bases loaded, Edwin Encarnacion hit a ground ball to third. Running from first, Bautista slid into the bag, and Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe threw wide of first as he tried to complete a double play. It appeared two runs had scored in what was a 3-2 game.

Instead, the umpires ruled Joey Bats did not “make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base.” They thus ruled Encarnacion out as well, ending the game.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was far from amused:

Bautista also defended his slide:

[MLB.com, Twitter]

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Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello Refuses to Do 8-Pound Mac & Cheese Challenge for $15K

There are some things money just can’t buy—including, but not limited to, love, happiness and Chris Colabello’s digestive health.

The latter was nearly put on the line when teammate Jose Bautista and his other Blue Jays brethren wagered $15,000 on the outfielder’s ability to consume an entire eight-pound dish of lobster macaroni and cheese.

The terms were simple: chow down, cash out.

Set to gain? A sizable amount of money, taste-bud bliss and likely a little weight.

At stake? Nearly everything mentioned in the Pepto-Bismol song.

But despite the fact that Colabello was afforded the opportunity to have his dough and eat his mac, too, he hesitated at the sight of the glorious challenge.

In fact, according to Bautista, Colabello considered buying into the dare for 40 minutes:


8:34 he is still struggling with it
8:45 im losing hope over here
8:53 not looking good…
8:56 @kpillar11 shows up and is upset that #CoachBelo is taking so long to decide
8:59 officially has waved the white flag, not even an attempt…disappointing…


Ultimately, he declined the once-in-a-lifetime proposition.

Of course, he could have always negotiated a higher price, or even suggested lessening the burden of pasta, but isn’t indulging in that cheesy deliciousness a prize in and of itself?

[Instagram, h/t SB Nation]

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Mike Schmidt Blasts Jose Bautista’s Bat Flip, Antics

Add Mike Schmidt to the list of Hall of Famers not impressed with Jose Bautista’s celebratory antics. 

Penning a piece for the Associated Press outlining the contrasts of what’s acceptable celebratory behavior and what’s not, Schmidt criticized Bautista for flamboyantly flipping his bat after smashing a towering, tiebreaking home run that propelled the Toronto Blue Jays to the American League Championship Series last October:  

Why do so many players today feel the need to embellish their success with some sort of hand signal to the dugout? What got more attention in last year’s postseason than a bat toss by Jose Bautista? Pointing to the sky is child’s play compared to that moment in the postseason on national TV. A flagrant disrespect of the opponent like that would have gotten somebody hurt back in the day.

The onslaught of criticism Bautista fielded for the celebration prompted the star slugger to justify himself in an essay for the Players’ Tribune last November titled “Are You Flipping Kidding Me?”

Bautista credited his behavior to being in the heat of the moment. The Blue Jays were in the playoffs for the first time since 1993, and he was at the plate with two runners on and two outs with the game tied 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh inning. This was all coming in a Game 5 that sent the loser home. 

“There was no script. I didn’t plan it. It just happened. … It wasn’t out of contempt for the pitcher. It wasn’t because I don’t respect the unwritten rules of the game. I was caught up in the emotion of the moment,” Bautista wrote.

Here is a look at the mammoth home run, courtesy of MLB, which was arguably one of the defining moments of last year’s postseason:

Schmidt noted Bautista isn’t the only player who has violated such unwritten laws of respect, but his gesture was among the most glaring last year:

That’s the problem with these on-field displays, it shows a lack of respect for your opponent and the history of the game. But today there is a faction of players that say damn respect — that guy on the mound gestures to the dugout when he strikes me out, so why can’t I flip my bat on a home run? That’s a good point, I guess it does go both ways. But who wouldn’t agree Bautista crossed the line?

Schmidt, who sits 16th on the all-time home runs list with 548, was among the many old-schoolers who played under the unwritten rules of respect that he believes Bautista’s bat flip defied.

Yet even the three-time National League MVP couldn’t help himself in the colossal moment when he joined the 500 home run club, as relayed by Jonah Keri of CBS Sports, which he said was the one moment in his career when he showed the most emotion:

Schmidt and Bautista come from completely different upbringings.

The former was a college star at Ohio University and made his major league debut when Richard Nixon was in the White House. 

Bautista grew up in the Dominican Republic and struggled mightily in his early years before breaking out as an MVP-caliber player in Toronto. Some of those differences may account for the players’ varying approaches to the game.

Bautista has always been among this era’s most passionate players, and even though another iconic old-timer publicly voiced his displeasure, the six-time All-Star likely won’t change his style.  

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Goose Gossage Comments on Jose Bautista, Analytics in Baseball

Legendary Major League Baseball reliever Goose Gossage is joining the chorus of people who believe bat flips and analytics are evil and have no place in the sport. 

Speaking to ESPN.com’s Andrew Marchand, Gossage singled out Toronto Blue Jays star Jose Bautista as being bad for baseball: “Bautista is a f–king disgrace to the game. He’s embarrassing to all the Latin players, whoever played before him. Throwing his bat and acting like a fool, like all those guys in Toronto. [Yoenis] Cespedes, same thing.”

Bautista became an Internet sensation in October when he flipped his bat after blasting a three-run homer in Game 5 of the American League Division Series against Texas. It was an expression of his excitement at putting his team ahead in a win-or-go-home game, but Gossage evidently thinks he was showing up his opponents.

Bautista took to Twitter to offer what seemed to be a response to Gossage:

Gossage’s vitriol wasn’t used all on Bautista. The Hall of Famer took aim at advanced analytics and most of the people who run MLB teams: 

The game is becoming a freaking joke because of the nerds who are running it. I’ll tell you what has happened, these guys played rotisserie baseball at Harvard or wherever the f— they went and they thought they figured the f—ing game out. They don’t know s—.

A bunch of f—ing nerds running the game. You can’t slide into second base. You can’t take out the f—ing catcher because [Buster] Posey was in the wrong position and they are going to change all the rules. You can’t pitch inside anymore. I’d like to knock some of these f—ers on their ass and see how they would do against pitchers in the old days.

Let’s ignore for a minute that pitchers today are throwing harder than they ever have to focus on another part of Gossage’s discussion. When did having more information about players become a bad thing?

That’s what advanced analytics and sabermetrics really is, just a way of evaluating talent. Andrelton Simmons can’t hit, yet he’s a star in 2016 because everyone can see his defensive metrics at shortstop over the last three years blow every other player at the position out of the water. 

The one good and fair point Gossage made in between looking like Grandpa Simpson yelling at a cloud is calling Milwaukee fans out for giving Ryan Braun a standing ovation: “Ryan Braun is a f–king steroid user. He gets a standing ovation on Opening Day in Milwaukee. How do you explain that to your kid after throwing people under the bus and lying through his f–king teeth? They don’t have anyone passing the f–king torch to these people.”

It’s ironic that Gossage’s comments came out on the same day Tim Keown of ESPN The Magazine published an article in which Washington Nationals superstar Bryce Harper talked about wanting more personality in the game:

You can’t do what people in other sports do. I’m not saying baseball is, you know, boring or anything like that, but it’s the excitement of the young guys who are coming into the game now who have flair. If that’s Matt Harvey or Jacob deGrom or Manny Machado or Joc Pederson or Andrew McCutchen or Yasiel Puig—there’s so many guys in the game now who are so much fun.

There’s always going to be a divide, for whatever reason, between players from previous generations and today’s athletes. Even a megastar from a different sport, like Stephen Curry, faces criticism from Oscar Robertson because the game is played differently today than it was decades ago. 

Gossage is certainly allowed to have his own opinions, but there doesn’t have to be this constant bickering about how baseball is played and run now because teams know and understand more things today than they did when he was playing.   

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