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Saturday April 2, 2011 12:06 am

Jose Bautista blasts first homer of 2011




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Jose BautistaIf you are a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, you probably found a thing or two to enjoy about their home opener against the Minnesota Twins on Friday night. While the highlight package for the game could take up an entire segment of SportsCenter, one of the standout events of the evening was 2010 Home Run King Jose Bautista’s fifth inning blast off Carl Pavano to pick up right where he left off last season.

Many wondered after his dramatic yet wildly unexpected 54 home runs if Bautista would even be capable of reaching half that total in 2011. After all, his previous season high was 16 home runs in 2006. But consider for a moment that in May, July, August, and September of last season, Bautista hit either 11 or 12 home runs. In September 2010, he hit 10. That’s about as consistent as you can ask for.

Now that “the book is out” on Bautista, many think he’ll fall back in 2011. Of course, nobody would be in their right mind to expect another 54 homers, but nobody’s mentioning the fact that for as much video other teams have on Bautista, the Jays have the same video on opposing pitchers. Bautista has made a mockery out of mistake pitches, and doing it in high leverage situations for more than a year now.

Bautista credits his jump in power to a number of factors, from becoming an every day player to modifying his swing to the arrival of replacement manager and former hitting coach Cito Gaston to Toronto. Even with a brand new $65 million contract and fan-appointed label as “team leader,” Bautista stands ready to helm the Blue Jays to the predicted 75-77 wins and likely more, and he’ll probably hit 40 home runs along the way.

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