Is it possible that former Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is trading bat flips for breaking balls, according to reports the outfielder is working out as a pitcher?
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, former Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is planning on representing the Dominican Republic in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers. Furthermore, “Joey Bats” has been toeing the rubber as a pitcher with a mid-90’s fastball and a slider with tilt.
It appears that Bautista will be utilized primarily as a first baseman during the qualifiers but it will be interesting to see if he makes a mound appearance or two as a reliever.
During his early days in Toronto, Bautista was renowned for his arm, however, he never really fully regained the cannon following an arm injury attempting to throw out a runner at first base from right field.
Former teammate Marcus Stroman tweeted out a photo of Bautista pitching in January endorsing him as a legitimate MLB reliever. Stroman quipped “All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big-league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it.”
The 39-year old last appeared in the majors in 2018 playing 122 games for the Braves, Mets, and Phillies. Bautista has played a plethora of positions over his 13-year career but surprisingly he has never made an appearance on the bump in the majors. I guess his skipper always opted for teammates Ryan Goins or Russell Martin when the opportunity presented itself for a position player to take the mound.
Even at 39 years of age, it is hard to bet against Bautista and all that he has accomplished since the Blue Jays acquired him from the Pirates back in 2008. You would be hard-pressed to find a more determined and goal-driven major leaguer than Joey Bats.
If this pitching thing does come to fruition, the Blue Jays have to be the organization to give him the shot…..right. How amazing would it be to see Bautista trotting in from the bullpen after connecting for 288 round-trippers north of the border. Don’t bet against him!