Jose Bautista frustration Boils Over

OF Jose Bautista, who has been struggling at the plate recently, drew his first ejection of the season Sunday afternoon when his frustration boiled over after a pair of strike calls. That and more in Melissa Couto’s weekly notebook

OF Jose Bautista, who has been struggling at the plate recently, drew his first ejection of the season Sunday afternoon when his frustration boiled over after a pair of strike calls. That and more in Melissa Couto’s weekly notebook

TORONTO -- It was a crazy weekend of Blue Jays baseball — back-to-back extra inning games, including one played under protest, a two-strike bunt base hit, and a struggling slugger ejected for arguing a strikeout in his 11th straight hitless at-bat.

Jose Bautista, who was held off base for the third straight game Sunday, got the toss from home plate umpire Bill Welke when he struck out in the sixth inning on a pitch low and away — but seemingly in the zone.

After the game, the Toronto right fielder offered little when questioned about his altercation with the umpire.

"Ask him," Bautista replied when a reporter asked what he had said to Welke before being thrown out. Asked if he thought the ejection was warranted, the 33-year-old said pointedly, "nope."

During Monday's game against the Red Sox at Rogers Centre, Bautista walked up to the plate for his first at-bat to a loud cheer from the Blue Jays faithful.

Toronto manager John Gibbons called Bautista a "marked man" on Sunday, and said he considered Welke's strike zone to have been consistent all game. On Monday, the Jays skipper backed down slightly, telling reporters he thought Bautista had "handled himself very well this year" in his dealing with umpires.

Bautista was 0-for-3 in Monday's 10th inning loss to the Red Sox, but snapped his on-base drought with a walk and a run scored in the Jays' three-run ninth inning.

 

SANTOS RETURNS

[Sergio-Santos] Sergio Santos got his first taste of major league action since mid-July on Sunday after spending a month at triple-A Buffalo.

The Blue Jays purchased the contract of the right-handed reliever, who was designated for assignment last month but went unclaimed on waivers, and Gibbons put him in the game against the Rays in the 10th inning.

Santos walked leadoff batter Ben Zobrist, who came around to score the winning run after a fielding error by Nolan Reimold (Bautista's replacement in right field) and a single from Evan Longoria.

Despite watching Santos give Tampa Bay the late lead, Gibbons said his reliever did "alright."

"First time back, I don't care how long you've been pitching, he's energized out there and I think he settled in and got a couple of big outs late," Gibbons said. "He held us to one (run) to at least give us a chance."

Santos, who is 0-3 with a 7.40 earned-run average through 20 2/3 innings for the Jays this season, called his time in Buffalo a "humbling" experience.

"The way I see it, it was a four-week refresher," the 31-year-old said. "Now I'm back and hopefully I can get on a run here."

CANADIANS IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES

[Russell-Martin2] Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Russell Martin is enjoying a successful August.

Through 18 games so far this month, the Montreal native is batting .323 with a .423 on-base percentage. Over that span, he has 21 hits, 13 RBIs, and 12 walks with only nine strikeouts.

Martin picked up his 1,000th career hit last week, and is now at 1,008.

-- St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras is 9-for-22 in his last six games for a .409 batting average. Though born in the Dominican Republic, Taveras lived in Montreal with his father as a teenager and holds a Canadian passport.

-- Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) was saddled with a loss for the first time in his major league career last Wednesday. The lefty gave up four runs (only one earned) as he dropped his career record to 6-1 over 10 starts spanning the last two seasons.

-- Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders (Victoria) was recalled from his rehab assignment at triple-A Tacoma on Sunday due to a viral infection. Saunders won't be able to resume his rehab for his oblique injury for at least a few more days.

-- Colorado Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) notched his 1,468th career hit on Monday night, passing George Wood (Pownal, P.E.I.) for second most hits by a Canadian all-time. Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.) holds the record with 2,160.

CANADIANS IN THE MINOR LEAGUES

[MLB: All Star Game-Futures Game] Toronto Blue Jays prospect Dalton Pompey's stellar season is continuing at the triple-A level.

Pompey, from Mississauga, Ont., was promoted to Buffalo from double-A New Hampshire last week, and is 6-for-19 for a .333 batting average with one walk, two RBIs, three stolen bases and four runs scored through four games.

The 21-year-old centre fielder hit .295 through 31 games with the Fisher Cats, and .319 through 70 games with single-A Dunedin to begin the year.

-- Follow Melissa Couto on Twitter @ThrowinSmoke

 

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Melissa Couto

My name is Melissa Couto. I'm a sports reporter-editor at The Canadian Press, where I've worked for the past two years. Mostly I work on the night desk, editing copy for print, online and broadcast, but I have been doing more and more writing recently. I also contribute to the Canadian Baseball Network, a website founded by renowned Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott.

 

I'm a graduate of Centennial College's sports journalism post-graduate program. Before that, I went to Western where I completed a BA and MA in American history (it's helped me impress people when we're watching Jeopardy). In all seriousness, my time at Western was valuable.  I walked away with a real passion for writing. When I took the post-grad program at Centennial, I learned to merge that love of writing with the love of sport that I've always had (particularly for baseball), and as they say, the rest is history.