Blue Jays handling Jose Bautista’s struggles delicately

May 5, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) reacts after striking out during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2017; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) reacts after striking out during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays and manager John Gibbons have remained true to slugger Jose Bautista despite an atrocious start to his 2017 campaign. Can the manager continue to bat Bautista near the top of the Jays order if the slump persists?

There were not many Blue Jays fans around the nation that foreshadowed the start to the season that Jose Bautista has had. The slugger has appeared lost at the plate swinging through pitches he normally deposits 400 feet away.

Frustration came to a boiling point a couple of nights ago when Bautista assaulted the dugout with a Marucci bat after yet another strikeout. Despite his ugly 22 for127 line John Gibbons has continued to scribe his name atop the Jays lineup card night after night.

As we all know Joey Bats is a very proud player almost to a fault and the Jays have pretty much fielded a Triple-A squad due to injuries for most of the season, however, when will the time come to move Bautista down in the order.

There are not many players that can strikeout 31% of the time like the 36-year old has and still remain in the same spot in the batting order. Bautista has whiffed 46 times in 150 plate appearances good for fourth most in all the majors only 8 k’s behind the leader Joey Gallo.

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Bautista has walked 22 times and owns a respectable .307 on-base percentage despite all his struggles at the dish. It is just that .177 batting average that jumps out and bites you.

Any other player without Bautista’s track record would have been riding the pine weeks ago. On a positive note, the former home run king has looked rejuvenated on the defensive side playing a solid right field with 3 outfield assists.

It is no doubt a precarious spot for the manager who must feel some loyalty to Bautista but if the Jays continue their recent winning streak and they begin to churn healthy players back into the lineup it may be a tough sell to keep Joey Bats swinging for the fences near the top.

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Hopefully, the slugger can figure it out and get back to his former self sooner than later but at this rate, he is circling the drain fast. If the Jays are going to climb their way out of the AL East doldrums they need a productive Bautista firing on all cylinders.

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