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José Antonio Bautista (born October 19, 1980 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), is a right-handed Major League Baseball (MLB) infielder and outfielder who plays for the Toronto Blue Jays. He has primarily been assigned the position of right fielder and third baseman, but has also played first base, second base, left fielder and center fielder in his career.[1]

In 2010, Bautista set a Toronto Blue Jays single-season team record by hitting 54 home runs, making him one of 26 players in the 50 home run club. That season, he was the American League, as well as the Major League home run champion.

Major League careerEdit

During the 2004 season, Bautista played for the Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was also technically on the New York Mets roster after being acquired from the Royals and dealt to the Pirates the same day.[2] This made him the first and only player to be on five different Major League rosters in one season (more specifically, his rookie season).

Bautista was selected by the Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft, and he made his debut with Baltimore on April 4, 2004. He was claimed off waivers by Tampa Bay on June 3, then traded to Kansas City on June 28. He was then sent to the Mets on July 30, and without playing a game for New York, was traded back to Pittsburgh.

In 2006, his first full season with the Pirates, Bautista hit just .235 but hit 16 home runs and drove in 51 runs. The following season in 2007, he posted similar numbers in 142 games, finishing the season with a batting average of .254, 15 home runs and 63 RBI.

That same year, he became the starting third baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He took over for National League batting champion Freddy Sanchez, who moved to second base.

2008Edit

Bautista was to be the Pirates' starting third baseman and backup outfielder in 2008. From June 14 to June 24, Bautista hit five home runs in a span of 9 games against interleague opponents Baltimore, Chicago White Sox, Toronto, and the New York Yankees. However, Bautista struggled offensively for most of the year, after the 2008 trade deadline, Bautista lost his starting job to the newly-acquired Andy LaRoche. He was optioned to Triple-A (Indianapolis Indians) on August 13. After performing well in Triple-A, on August 21, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later (Robinzon Diaz).[3]

2009Edit

Bautista started the 2009 season on the bench, backing up third base for Scott Rolen and the outfield for Alex Rios and Adam Lind. When Rios was claimed off waivers by the Chicago White Sox and Adam Lind was assigned the role of designated hitter, Bautista's playing time increased; he became the leadoff hitter after an injury to Marco Scutaro. During this time, his hitting improved. Bautista had a 4 game home run streak snapped on October 3, but the next day hit a solo home run to lead off an inning of Baltimore Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie. Bautista finished the 2009 season with 13 HR (10 of which came in the month of September), 40 RBI, a batting average of .235, and 79 hits in 113 games. He re-signed with the Blue Jays on a one-year $2.4 million US contract for the 2010 season.[4]

2010Edit

Before the 2010 season, Bautista changed his swing. Bautista began the 2010 campaign as the starting right fielder and leadoff hitter. He hit his first HR of the year against the Baltimore Orioles' Kevin Millwood on April 11. On May 17, Bautista was named AL Player of the Week after hitting .444 (8-for-18) with 20 total bases, 4 HR, 8 RBIs, 8 R, .565 OBP, and an MLB-best 1.111 SLG.[5] Bautista hit his 20th home run as part of a 2-HR night against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 22.[6] This was a career high for a single season, an achievement he reached in just two months.[6]

On July 4, 2010 Bautista was selected as a reserve for the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star game in Anaheim.[7] Bautista hit an inside-the-park home run against the Minnesota Twins on July 7, 2010. This was the 28th inside-the-park home run in Blue Jays history and the Jays' first since Greg Myers on September 13, 2005.[8] Despite leading Major League Baseball in home runs before the All-Star festivities in Anaheim, Bautista was denied the opportunity to participate in the Home Run derby, and the last available spot was given to New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher. In the All-Star game, Bautista entered the game as a pinch runner for Josh Hamilton and finished the game 0–1, in an eventual 3–1 loss for the American League squad.[9]

Bautista hit his major league-leading 30th homer of the year in a 4-for-4, two-home-run outing against the Baltimore Orioles on July 27.[10] Bautista continued his dominant hitting on July 30, when he hit a grand slam off Indians pitcher Justin Masterson, his major league-leading 31st homer of the year, and the second grand slam hit by a Jays batter this season.[11] For the month of July, Bautista batted .347, with 11 HRs, 29 RBI, and an AL-leading .765 slugging percentage. As a result of his outstanding play in the month of July, he was named co-winner of American League Player of the Month honours (alongside Twins outfielder, Delmon Young).[12] Bautista was also named Honda July Player of the Month, which is selected through voting by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.[13] With his 11 HRs in July and his 12 in May, Bautista became only the third Blue Jay player in franchise history to have two months with at least 10 home runs, the other two were George Bell in 1987 and Carlos Delgado who did it in 1997 and 2001.[13]

Bautista was awarded co-winner of the American League player of the week award for the period ending August 1, Bautista hit .545 with five homers and 13 RBIs during that span.[14] With his 35th home run of the season, hit against the Boston Red Sox on August 10, Bautista beat a franchise record previously held by Carlos Delgado for hitting a home run in 11 straight series. On August 26, Bautista hit his 100th career home run against the Detroit Tigers.[15] Bautista was again awarded player of the week for the week ending August 29.[16] In seven games that week, Bautista led the American League with a .500 batting average (10-for-20). He also hit four home runs and in doing so, Bautista became the only Blue Jays player to ever win the award three times in one season.Template:Citation needed Bautista won AL Player of the Month for the month of August, in which he hit he lead the A.L. in home runs (12), RBI (24), slugging percentage (.724) and total bases (72), while tying for the lead in extra-base hits (18). He also finished tied for second with 23 runs and was third with 23 walks.[17]

On September 15, Bautista tied the Blue Jays single-season home run record (set by George Bell in 1987) by hitting his 47th home run off of Baltimore's Brad Bergesen. Two days later in Boston, Bautista set the new Blue Jays single-season home run record by hitting his 48th home run off of Michael Bowden.[18] On September 23, Bautista became the 26th player in Major League Baseball history to reach the 50-home run mark in a season off Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.[19] Bautista is the first to reach 50 since Prince Fielder and Alex Rodriguez did so in 2007. The blast was also Bautista's 31st homer at home this season, breaking Carlos Delgado's previous Blue Jays record set in 2000 of 30. The following day, Bautista had yet another multi-homerun game, hitting two against the Baltimore Orioles. His 52nd home run set a new MLB record for the largest single-season increase in home runs, eclipsing Davey Johnson's 38 home run increase from 1972 to 1973.[20] Bautista finished the 2010 season with 54 home runs, the highest total since Alex Rodriguez hit 54 in 2007.

On October 21, 2010, Bautista underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia that had bothered him since May.[21]

Due to his outstanding offensive performance during the 2010 season, Major League Baseball announced on October 31, 2010 that Bautista had won the American League Hank Aaron Award.[22] He is the second Blue Jay to win the award, after Carlos Delgado won it in 2000.

On November 11, 2010, it was announced that Bautista had won a Silver Slugger Award for being one of the top hitting outfielders in the American League. He is the 22nd Blue Jay to win the award, and the most recent since Adam Lind and Aaron Hill won their awards in 2009.[23]

On November 23, 2010, it was announced that Bautista had finished fourth in the AL MVP voting, behind winner Josh Hamilton, Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano. Bautista received 165 points in voting, including one first-place vote and four third-place votes (but no second-place votes).[24] It was the highest share of the vote garnered by a Blue Jay since Delgado finished second (behind Alex Rodriguez) in 2003.

Major League Career StatisticsEdit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League G AB R H HR RBI G AB R H HR RBI
2004 Baltimore Orioles MLB 16 11 3 3 0 0
2004 Tampa Bay Devil Rays MLB 12 12 1 2 0 1
2004 Kansas City Royals MLB 13 25 1 5 0 1
2004 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 23 40 1 8 0 0
2005 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 11 28 3 4 0 1
2006 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 117 400 58 94 16 51
2007 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 142 532 75 135 15 63
2008 Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 107 314 38 76 12 44
2008 Toronto Blue Jays MLB 21 56 7 12 3 10
2009 Toronto Blue Jays MLB 113 336 54 79 13 40
2010 Toronto Blue Jays MLB 161 569 109 148 54 124
MLB totals 736 2323 350 566 113 335

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