Jose Bautista bounced around four MLB organizations from 2004 until 2008, when he finally found a home with the Toronto Blue Jays. But it wasn't until the 2010 season that he broke out and became an All-Star, known as one of baseball's most feared home-run hitters. Bautista's 54 homers that season made him just the 26th player in MLB history to reach the 50-plus club. Now a three-time All-Star, Bautista, 32, caught up with The Huffington Post to talk about the revamped Blue Jays roster and how he hopes to contend for a pennant.
Give us a glimpse into your game day routine.
I'm usually having to do interviews or looking at video studying the opposing pitcher and the relievers that might pitch that day. I'm working in the cage, going through batting practice. For a 7:00 game, I show up to the yard at 2:00.
Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Sometimes right before the games I do a contrast where I go back and forth from hot and cold whirlpools for three minutes apiece. Three times in the hot and two in the cold; it works pretty good.
Toronto's front office had a terrific offseason, acquiring some huge names. Few teams in the league have the talent this club does. What do you make of that?
Obviously the expectations -- it's not every day that you get to play on a team with multiple Silver Sluggers, All-Stars, Cy Young winners. It's a good group and a good balance of power and speed, with really athletic guys who are good defensively. On the pitching side, we have guys that throw hard and then the veteran guys that throw a lot of strikes but not necessarily hard, like [Mark] Buehrle and [R.A.] Dickey. The personalities are unbelievable. It's hilarious in the clubhouse all the time with high energy.
You're going to have Jose Reyes hitting in front of you this year. How will that affect you?
He makes my job easier because he's going to be able to get in scoring position more often. He's a great hitter; he hits for high average and he takes his walks. He can get on base even when he's not hitting the ball good because of his speed. He can beat out some ground balls and bunt to get on. Then when he does get on, he will move up, steal bases and create havoc on the bases. When I hit the ball and try to drive him in, he scores on a lot of balls that other people don't. If he's on first and I hit a double, or second and I hit a hard single, he's just going to make my life a lot easier without actually increasing what I do, or doing anything different.
How are you health-wise in terms of the wrist? You only played 92 games last season.
I feel 100 percent right now. I have no lingering effects from the surgery. My wrist feels strong. I feel ready and had no setbacks during my rehab. There hasn't even been a thought that crossed my mind for me to hold back on a swing.
Is there a point, though, where you can take too many swings, especially in the cage?
Yes, definitely. We're monitoring that so I'm trying not to overdo it. So I've cut down some of the extra work because it is too early in the season. I might start doing more once the season starts. I'm not unlimited and I've had advice from guys that had the surgery before. And I have one as my new teammate, Mark DeRosa, and he told me, "Don't overdo it. You might not reinjure it but you may get tired and need a day off." This is not coming from my head, but he said, "We need to keep you in the lineup."
Obviously you have aspirations of winning a championship, but you have to go through a rugged AL East to do so.
It's always competitive. It's probably one of the toughest divisions in the league. You have to be respectful to the other organizations after winning for a while. We're a confident group. We feel good about our chances and we really think we can make the playoffs and be in contention for the World Series. But that doesn't mean we're going to walk around and promise we're going to win and tell people we're better than others.
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