More from Bautista

It has been a long day at the ballpark so I’m going to try and make this blog entry relatively brief. On the main site you’ll find a feature on Jose Bautista and his return to health following an injury plagued 2011 season. It also takes an in depth look at the somewhat overstated controversy of his comments regarding drug testing during the offseason.

There’s also a notebook with items on Colby Rasmus reporting to camp, Brett Cecil suffering from a migraine and Omar Vizquel likely hanging up the cleats after this season. Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @gregorMLB where I have been posting daily pictures along with breaking news and tidbits from Spring Training.

Here are some more comments from Bautista that didn’t make it into today’s article:

On the offseason…

“I rested a little longer than I usually do because I had all of those nagging, day-to-day injuries like the sprained ankle and banging up against the wall. So I wanted to I wanted to let my body heal a little bit. So, I rested for eight weeks and got back into training slowly.

On silencing his critics in 2011…

“I don’t really care about that, it’s not what I keep my focus on. I just try to remain productive and I know the things that allow me to do that is to just focus in on my preparation and my work and those are the only things that I worry about. Keeping that in mind, I felt like I had a good year individually but at the same time my overall success is dictated by how well my team does and I don’t feel like we played as well as we could have played.

“I know it’s not only up to me and everything’s not under my control but I feel like I could have done more at times and helped out in different ways. Not only by getting a hit or driving in a run but doing different stuff on and off the field and in the clubhouse. But that’s more experience for me and I feel like it’s going to help me be better this year so I learned from last year and it’s a new year now and I feel good about our chances.”

On the revamped bullpen…

“We haven’t even started the season, but on paper it feels like we have a lights-out bullpen. I know there’s a very capable group put together. I’m excited to think that in those close games we’re going to have much better chances to come out on top and I think those are the biggest difference maker in a season for any Major League team. You want to win every single close game that you can get.

“Knowing that we have great arms throughout the bullpen and it gives us a lot of peace of mind and I can see the starting rotation being much more relaxed when they go out to the field knowing that they can rely on those guys and on the offense as well. We don’t have to get 10 runs up on the board to win a ballgame. If we just get ahead one or two runs we’ll feel comfortable those guys are going to be able to hold the lead and close out the ballgame.”

On what it will take for Blue Jays to make the next step…

Just health. Last year we did okay, we finished .500, it’s a tough division but whatever, I’m not trying to use that as an excuse. I think eight guys out of the nine that were in the starting lineup at some point were on the disabled list and that hurts you. When you lose the main guys in the every day lineup the team chemistry and the way everybody plays together gets thrown off a little bit. At the same time the production from that particular player might be hurt when they come back because there’s a period of adjustment.

“If we all remain healthy and we can play together all year long we’re going to have a much better final product than last year and if you think about it, if we had won five more games that means five less losses and we would have been 10 games over .500 and right there with the Rays trying to sneak in for the playoffs. It’s not that much of a difference when you look at it — five games and we feel pretty good about the group we have put together and we’re hoping for big things this season.”

John Farrell on Bautista…

“I think players of his calibre, and the production that they put up, there’s always going to be added questions or media attention and the potential for distractions just because of what they garner, what they earn in that regard.

“The one thing that is so unique about Jose is that he’s a smart guy, he’s aware that some of that attention is going to come his way but he doesn’t let it get in the way of his work. From just a sheer production standpoint there’s no reason to think he’s not going to put up a year similar to the last two.”

2 Comments

hope Bautista does well cant wait to see Brettt again in his first full season hope romero can can over the good from last season check out my blog at gojays.mlblogs.com

Bautista is 100% correct about injuries being a major factor in how this team, especially, will finish up at the end of the year. There are critical members who have to stay healthy the entire season, and that hasn’t happened the past several seasons. I also think that once this team learns how to win (I know that sounds rather stupid), it will result in a more relaxed style of play based on confidence. Last year you could see the Jays tighten up every time the pitching faltered – which it did far too often. Baseball is not a game where you can press to make things happen. The most successful teams have an attitude based on confidence in the whole team’s ability that will allow them to stay relaxed which will often lead to good things happening in the late innings. The improved bullpen could go a long way to allowing the 2012 Jays to feel this way. Look at the Yankees. They know that when Rivera comes in to protect a lead that the game’s soon going to be over – and they stay relaxed.

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