Silence engulfed the Rogers Centre last night. While that might not be a surprising occurrence on most evenings, with the New York Yankees in town, the hushed nature of the three quarter filled stadium had a definite eeriness about it.
Most of the 37,342 in attendance watched in silence as Jose Bautista flailed extremities and expressed obvious pain after an awkward slide on a force out at third base. Later, replays would show that the leader in every important offensive category in baseball caught his cleat on something in the third base dirt that caused the painful looking ankle bend in the fourth inning.
Fortunately, the results don’t seem to be as gruesome as Bautista’s initial reaction indicated. X-Rays showed no break, but an MRI was scheduled for this morning. As it stands right now, Bautista is expected to miss some games, but not enough to justify a trip to the Disabled List.
There was some speculation that the injured right ankle might have something to do with Bautista’s ill advised but spectacular sliding catch in the All-Star Game that saw his right leg end up jammed against a wall. However, manager John Farrell was quick to dismiss the idea.
No, and it wasn’t even related to the play in the same inning when he beat the throw to first base. The replay showed there was some hesitation on his part after he hit the bag, but in talking with him, he felt like it was unrelated.When he slid into third he caught his spike and that’s where he turned it.
However, Blue Jays fans know all too well that initial X-Rays don’t always tell the whole story when it comes to swollen injuries. Earlier this year, Toronto’s top organizational prospect Brett Lawrie was hit by a pitch at the end of May. While initial X-Rays revealed no broken bones, an MRI done after the swelling had gone down revealed a tiny fracture. A month and a half later, and Lawrie only last night played in his first game back as part of a rehab assignment at Single A Dunedin. He went one for three with a single.
As for Bautista, much like the Blue Jays themselves, fans will have to wait and see what the MRI results reveal and go from there. If there’s any upside to losing the best player in baseball for any time at all, perhaps the rest of baseball will see just how valuable Bautista’s contribution is to the Toronto Blue Jays.