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Blue Jays: Jose Bautista working to defy Father Time

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Blue Jays star Jose Bautista is tired of the questions surrounding his age, and is doing everything he can off the field to extend his major league career

Jose Bautista doesn’t feel 35-years-old. In this excellent piece from Robert MacLeod of the Globe and Mail the Blue Jays right fielder and bat-flip aficionado discussed the rigorous off-field work that he puts in year-round to keep himself in peak physical shape.

“I have no reason to believe I’m getting older other than more people keep asking me my age. I certainly don’t feel like I’m getting older. And I’m performing at the highest level that I’ve ever performed.”

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From the outside looking it, it has always appeared that Bautista is one of the more conscious Blue Jays about his body maintenance and physical health. You need to look no further than the yoga-like stretching exercises Bautista puts himself through mid-game.

Bautista tells MacLeod that his approach to fitness isn’t about maxing out his bench-press, though. Instead, as you might expect from one of the league’s more intelligent players, it’s a little more complicated than that.

“I do a lot of stuff that has to do with diaphragmatic breathing and how to control that while you’re working out to manipulate your beats per minute in your heart so you get more out of the workout and the whole body working in unison. I do a lot of pattern development, corrections – utilizing different techniques.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the annual churn of players that claim to be in the “best shape” of their lives at this time of the year, but for something that goes a little deeper, such as this, serious consideration needs to be given in his upcoming contract negotiations.

Bautista may not be a spry 24-year-old ready to play 160 games per season, but physically speaking, is he truly 35? Furthermore, what do the Blue Jays expect his decline rate to be? Not in terms of performance at the plate, but in a purely physical sense? Bautista could be in a much better standing that most in that regard.

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General manager Ross Atkins has taken notice of this already, telling MacLeod that “He’s a true student of what it means to maximize your physical ability.”

How long he can maximize it, and what that max ceiling is, will be the most important question for the Blue Jays to answer. Knocking Bautista as being simply “old” when discussing his negotiations, however, isn’t as simple as it sounds.

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