Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet has an interesting piece up in which he speaks with Jose Bautista about a variety of topics — his love for Toronto, his relationship with Booster Juice and his business plans, etc. — which you should totally read the entirety of if you’re a fan at all of the Jays’ best player, even though I’m totally going to give away the nut right now (and, frankly, already did in the title): Bautista is confident that his wonky hamstring is better, and that he’ll be in the starting lineup Tuesday when the Jays host the Brewers for two games, before heading out on a daunting pre-All-Star Break road trip to Oakland, Anaheim, and their own personal house of horrors (non-Yankee Stadium division), Tampa Bay.
“(There’s been) a lot of progress. When you have this type of injury, the most important thing is to relax and get downtime to let it heal and recover. That’s what I’ve had to do, but (with) a lot of treatment at the same time,” he said at the opening of a Booster Juice location that he now owns in Toronto’s Bloor West Village Monday.
“Now it’s feeling much better and obviously it’s not 100 percent yet, but it’s good enough to at least DH for the next couple of games and then we’ll see from there.”
Once Bautista returns to the starting lineup, he’ll see how it responds and confer with manager John Gibbons to determine if full or partial days off are required.
Bautista also tells Ben that he’s “close to 100%” and could play in right field, if needed. And… well… that might be needed. The Jays face a pair of right-handers, Polo Erik and Wile E. Peralta, meaning that Bautista at DH would force either Adam Lind or Edwin Encarnacion out of the lineup, unless Edwin makes a pair of rare starts at third base (which he totally should do, FYI).
The Jays have averaged 4.4 runs per game in the eight contests he’s been out of (including the June 22nd game at Cincinnati in which he originally left injured), so despite perceptions to the contrary, it’s not like they’ve needed him too desperately over the past week, except… well… they’ve totally needed him. Three of the Jays’ last five games were lost by a run or less, and a fourth saw the club down by just two runs until the top of the ninth. Bautista doesn’t turn all those results over by himself, but an extra bat — and one that’s owned by the man who is second to only Mike Trout in wRC+ in the American League — sure would have helped.
This, then, is very, very good news for the struggling Jays. Um… obviously.