The Blue Jays Winter Tour rolled into Toronto on Saturday, headlined by none other than the face of the franchise, Jose Bautista. Seeing him in Toronto again was a welcome sign for fans, but it was the words he spoke in regards to his injured wrist that had fans truly excited.
“There is no doubt that if we had a game tonight, I’d be playing,” Bautista said.
For the past month, the right-fielder has been swinging a bat without pain and with a full range of motion in his wrist. Considering how that injury marred his 2012 campaign, a season that saw him dip to a .241 batting average, 27 home runs, 65 RBI, and an OPS of .886, a healthy Bautista is a welcome sight to all.
The expectations on the 2013 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays are already sky-high, with the acquisitions of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and Melky Cabrera. However, those expectations are all for naught if Bautista is not in the middle of that line-up. With the tables now set in front of him, and the hopes that Edwin Encarnacion is ready to continue thumping behind him, the Blue Jays are easily one of the most dangerous line-up in the game.
And how does Bautista feel about the moves made by the team this offseason?
“Alex has really stuck to his word and said that when the time was right, he was going to pull some moves and make this team competitive for a long period of time, and that’s exactly what he has done,” Bautista said. “It gives all of us, including the players, the coaches, the fans, front office, ownership, everybody, a lot of reasons to be excited and happy about our upcoming seasons.”
The best part about that quote was the fact that he said “seasons”; plural. This is not a team built to be a one and done shot at a playoff appearance, even with Josh Johnson only being signed through the season. A team does not trade this much of their future for a single season shot at glory. They make these moves for a sustained run.
And having a healthy Jose Bautista on opening day will get that sustained run started.